How many hospitals have gotten discouraged and quit their Lean efforts?
It’s a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. OK, maybe the answer is “17.” I don’t know.
The question is a corollary to the question of How many hospitals are implementing Lean?
Answering either question requires to start with “Well, it depends what you mean by…”
What do you mean by “implementing Lean?” To one hospital, they might mean they’re dabbling with training people across many departments in just one tool. That’s not a very robust or holistic approach. “Implementing Lean” might also mean that you are trying to transform the culture and management system through years of improvement efforts, education, leadership, and hard work (like ThedaCare, Group Health and others).
Looking at the quit side of the question – again, what do you mean by “Lean efforts?”
If a hospital was just dabbling with 5S or kanban systems in a department or two, they weren’t like to see transformational change or huge quality improvements or cost savings. If they “quit” that, you could ask “did they ever get started?”
I guess these questions (the “how many”) are interesting to researchers who are looking at broader trends. But, tell me, for YOUR hospital, does it matter one bit what the answer to either question is? Are you starting or stopping Lean efforts because of a bandwagon effect or because you know or believe Lean works when you really go at it with dedication and the right perspective?
How would you answer the “how many” questions?
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