Dr. John Toussaint Responds to the NEJM Piece: What Lean Really Is
Regular readers will remember my post about the New England Journal of Medicine piece on Lean by Pamela Hartzband, M.D., and Jerome Groopman, M.D. that so badly confused Lean with top-down Taylorism.
Toussaint’s co-authors are also heavy hitters in the world of healthcare quality:
- Patrick H. Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Stephen Shortell,Blue Cross of California Distinguished Professor, HPM, Professor of Organization Behavior, Director, CHOIR, Dean Emeritus at the Cal-Berkeley School of Public Health
Where the NEJM piece mistakenly described Lean as a top-down, command-and-control approach that’s not appropriate for healthcare, Toussaint and company write about Lean as a proven method that works in healthcare.
A brief excerpt:
“It is true that what has been called TPS [Toyota Production System] in the past may have failed at some health care institutions. Therein lies the problem. National standards for applying TPS in health care have not been established. However, the sheer number of organizations and physicians that are seeking to understand this methodology and the notable success that have been achieved with it suggest that it has merit.”
In my view, Lean is proven to work in healthcare, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy or that it’s guaranteed to work. Thinking, creativity, and perseverance are required… along with the right Lean philosophies.
Check out the article here. You can comment on the Health Affairs site or I invite you to comment below.