Ken Congdon at Healthcare Technology Online recently interviewed me for this story that’s now online: Kaizen: The Key To Lean Healthcare?.
Mark Graban, lean expert and co-author of an upcoming book titled Healthcare Kaizen, often compares Kaizen to the suggestion box methodology. “Traditionally, suggestion boxes have employees submit anonymous ideas,” says Graban. “Those ideas are then reviewed by a committee on a monthly or quarterly basis and are either or dismissed. The individual who submitted the idea rarely gets any feedback on their idea. Kaizen, on the other hand, is a local process that moves much faster than the suggestion box approach. Someone in a work group will talk to their supervisor about a change they feel should be implemented. These ideas are either collected on a bulletin board or entered into a web-tracking system. Rather than running these ideas up to a committee, the employee that made the suggestion and their supervisor are empowered to implement these changes on their own. The idea of Kaizen is that a lot of little ideas evaluated and implemented at a local level can have a huge impact on an organization and can generally be implemented much more quickly and easily than a single million-dollar idea handed down from corporate.”
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