Coming off of an outstanding 2011 Lean Transformation Summit (blog posts to come), John Toussaint, MD, is doing a huge favor for the Dallas-Fort Worth area (my home). John has stayed over to participate in a meeting we are holding this morning in Fort Worth.
We will have about 20 healthcare leaders from different organizations and about 12 industry leaders with significant Lean experience.
Since it’s hard to have a well-defined plan for what will happen after the meeting, I have four hypotheses that I will share at the meeting. I’ll also share them here and we can test the hypotheses over time.
1) Leaders can learn and share Lean lessons across industries.
John is going to talk about his experiences as CEO of ThedaCare (as described so well in the book On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry). John received a lot of coaching and mentoring from people like Dan Ariens (CEO of Ariens Inc), George Koenigsaecker, and others. This was senior leader-to-senior leader mentoring and learning that was very influential on ThedaCare and John as the CEO.
The learning now goes both directions as some manufacturing leaders have come to ThedaCare to learn from one of the leading Lean hospitals. This learning, of course, doesn’t mean that somebody is blindly copying another industry or another organization. But, we think sharing will be good.
2) Getting leaders together in the meeting (a petri dish) with John Toussaint (as a catalyst) will lead to at least one ongoing mentoring relationship across industries.
Our hope for DFW is that some of the experienced industry leaders can mentor some of the healthcare leaders, but the learning can go both directions. A sub-hypothesis would be that, currently, healthcare has more to learn about Lean from industry right now than vice versa, but that can change over time.
3) Collaboration can be done in a way that is truly win-win for industry and healthcare
This is not an opportunity for industry to “beat up on” healthcare. This is an opportunity to partner – finding ways to reduce cost and improve quality, something that’s good for industry (as a payer for healthcare) and their employees.
John Torinus, the CEO of a printing company Serigraph, writes about this sort of collaboration with healthcare organizations (including ThedaCare) in his outstanding book The Company That Solved Health Care: How Serigraph Dramatically Reduced Skyrocketing Costs While Providing Better Care, and How Every Company Can Do the Same (full review coming soon).
Through these collaborations, healthcare organizations will have some friendly “positive pressure” placed on them, but they well also have some mentoring and a method for improvement – good for the healthcare organization, the clinicians, and their employees.
4) This mentoring will help move Lean healthcare forward in DFW in a meaningful way
It will be interesting to see what discussion comes from the meeting. Will there be mentoring? Will the group that meets all keep in touch, in some way? Will organizations share what they have learned, within the group, or in some forum? Will organizations report results? Will we do another meeting like this again? We are hoping to spark some naturally sustaining efforts, without forming a formal organization (although why not a DFW version of the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative?)
Depending on how this goes, my meeting planning collaborators (TMAC) and I are willing to share our plans and experiences if Lean leaders in other cities would like to try to repeat this experiment. We can’t promise John Toussaint as the catalyst, necessarily.
My selfish hope (in case my family or I need healthcare) is that the DFW area could be one of the leading Lean healthcare centers of excellence in the country. It seems that our area has some catching up to do, compared to Seattle, Iowa, Minneapolis, etc. But let’s give it a try.
What do you think about this?
About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Customer Success for the technology company KaiNexus. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.