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A Few Random Links – Oct 22 2010

It’s time for a Lean Blog feature where I throw a few links at you – articles I’ve saved and read that maybe don’t merit a full post, but are worth sharing and making a brief comment on. I often send links like this out via Twitter (follow me @LeanBlog).

Two links for today… will be back Monday with LeanBlog Podcast #101…

Surviving healthcare reform: Get lean, learn the insurance game

This article is using a variation of the everyday colloquial use of the word “lean,” meaning tighten the belt and cut back (nothing related to Lean/Toyota methods).

From the article about how radiology practices need to have better business practices:

In order to minimize the impact of further fee reductions and increasing overhead, the time to begin ferreting out revenue leakage and reducing business costs is now. It isn’t unusual to “find” $250,000 to $500,000, and sometimes $1 million in a larger practice, in revenue that is being lost due to ponderous, outdated billing processes. (The radiology practice is one of the few businesses in the country that can lose that much revenue and still be in business.)

Lousy billing processes sure can be costly. While we often try to point Lean efforts at important stuff like quality and patient safety, many healthcare organizations have focused early Lean work at the billing process (ThedaCare took out millions from their cash cycle, helping fund their later patient care-focused improvements. “No margin, no mission,” eh?

Continuous Improvement: It’s All About the Customer

Former AME President Ralph Keller modifies an old Clinton-ism by saying “it’s the customer, stupid.”  Keller writes:

For any business, it is customers that drive the success or failure of the enterprise. That’s where the focus of your CI efforts must be. We often get hung up about our products and services and how great they are in relation to our competition, but we forget that customers want a solution to their particular problem, not just a product or service, and your CI efforts must be focused on that.

For example, putting tape around your stapler likely does nothing to benefit the customer.

Shawano hospital to join ThedaCare

A leader in lean healthcare, ThedaCare is adding to its health system and the newly acquired sites will have the ThedaCare “no layoffs philosophy” extended to them.

See you Monday…


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Now Available – The updated, expanded, and revised 3rd Edition of Mark Graban’s Shingo Research Award-Winning Book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. You can buy the book today, including signed copies from the author.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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