My Article in “Hospital & Health Networks” on Waste in Healthcare

After last week’s piece on “putting the continuous back into continuous improvement,” I had another article published this past week.

This new article was published in the publication “Hospitals & Health Networks,” co-authored with Rob Harding, and it’s called “Cut Costs by Reducing Redundant or Inefficient Activity.

I’m not totally crazy about the use of the phrase “cut costs” in the headline, but sometimes you have to get the attention of readers. And, after doing so, I hope made some strong points about Lean not being simple cost cutting and how you need “respect for people” as a core element of Lean healthcare, which includes not using Lean to drive layoffs.

One snippet from the article:

Post continues after ad...

Admitting You Have a Problem Is the First Step

Post continues after ad...

Being able to see waste is a first step, but there are also cultural challenges when leaders want to admit that they have waste or problems. It is natural for people to want to hide waste if they fear blame or punishment.

There is a classic story from Toyota’s entry into North America, when a local factory leader was asked by visiting Japanese senior leaders what were the top three problems under his supervision. After hearing “no problems,” a response that’s often a gut reflex in many organizations, the Japanese reminded him, “‘no problems’ is a problem.” As Berwick, a supporter of Lean methodology for health care, says, “We need a culture in which staff members know that they can report on the waste they see and call it by name, without breaking the rules.”

There’s some discussion on the H&HN site that you can join in on, or feel free to post a comment here.

Please post a comment and join the discussion. Subscribe to get notified about posts daily or weekly.

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 book 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.

You might also like More from author

1 Comment

  1. Radiology Patient Flow Improvement Using Lean at a German Hospital — Lean Blog

    […] Did you noticed that they INCREASED staffing levels? Everybody who complains about Lean being just about driving layoffs doesn’t consider that Lean is really about finding the RIGHT staffing levels. It’s like Goldilocks — not too many people and not too few. There are many cases where Lean results in productivity improvement, but Lean organizations find better ways of utilizing and developing people in lieu of just laying them off. […]

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.