How Toyota Can Save Your Life… At the Hospital


ChangeThis :: How Toyota Can Save Your Life…At the Hospital

The page linked to above (link now dead) has an essay I was invited to write about the healthcare and the Toyota Production System, for the website “ChangeThis.”

A direct link to the essay is here (in pdf format).

The publisher's overview of the essay:

It's well-known that the safety standards of Toyota vehicles are singularly high due to the company's commitment to innovation and precision. But the Toyota philosophy can save your life at the hospital as well. There are over 100,000 deaths in hospitals each year as a result of systematic failure. Graban asserts that a lean manufacturing approach, like Toyota's, is the answer to saving healthcare…and possibly your life.

Healthcare, the system, is very broken. Far too many patients are being injured and killed unnecessarily, In the essay, written for a general audience, I try to lay out the need for change and examples of how the Toyota Production System and lean mindsets can make at least some improvements.

What do you think?

Check out the other essays on the ChangeThis main page including a thought-provoking piece by Stanford professor Bob Sutton on “The Upside of Assholes: Is there Virtue in Bad Workplace Behavior?” His answer is “no,” as he's the author of the book The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Aunt B- I really admire Clare and her “Good News” DVD, I recommend it whenever I can. I hope her DVD inspires many people to drive change in healthcare.

  2. IATA has for many years had a reporting system to ensure that if one airline encounters a safety-related incident, all others are informed and a repetition is avoided worldwide.

    Example: taxiing an aircraft from one part of the airfield to another uses just one engine. When you arrive, you discover that the engine you were using isn’t the one that’s connected to the hydraulics. Result: no brakes, and one bent aircraft.

    Reported via IATA’s system.

    Result: airline procedures manuals worldwide are amended – “Step 6A: check that the hydraulics are connected to the engine you’re using”.

    There is no excuse for healthcare not to copy this.


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