I don’t have any first hand experience with the country, but I have had many requests for the free first chapters of my books (Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen) from Saudi Arabia over the past few years. I’m certain there would be some Lean thinking and Lean practices in that country’s hospitals.
This news story made me think of a Lean topic – reporting errors for the purposes of problem solving and improvement, as opposed to using such information for punishment. The story titled “Hospitals to report serious errors online” talks about a new national reporting system – something that patient safety advocates like Captain Sully Sullenberger have called for here in the U.S. (listen to his friend, and mine, Naida Grunden, talk about this in my podcast with her).
From the story:
All hospitals in the Kingdom, whether government or private, will have to report online any serious medical error, said Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah yesterday at the launch of his ministry’s electronic portal for health services.
“The portal contains a system to receive reports of such errors from hospitals. Once these reports are in the system, we are automatically notified of them by SMS at the same time,” the minister said.
“This will keep us informed round the clock of all the serious medical events taking place in our hospitals and how they are handled and whether there is need for further intervention,” he added.
The idea of a text message going to the Health Minister immediately reminds me of the great Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill (now a patient safety advocate – here my podcast with him) and how he, as the CEO, as notified of any safety problem within just a few hours.
How will this information be used?
“We are not aiming to detect medical errors simply to punish. We want to eliminate such errors and improve performance. Failure to report such events will subject the hospital to further sanctions, and this will apply to all hospitals,” the minister said.
Whether that’s driven by the Lean philosophy, something like “Just Culture,” or other aspects of the patient safety movement, it’s “like Lean” thinking to me.
What would it take to get a system like that in the United States, at the state or federal level? In Canada, at the provincial or national level? Or, in other countries? Who else currently has a system like that?
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