You might have seen this sad case of a fatally broken ER on the news over the weekend and I have more comments on that later.
On a more positive light, “about a quarter” of U.S. emergency rooms are working on “no waiting” or “30 minutes or less” goals:
“Some hospitals are moving to eliminate waits altogether. The Adventist GlenOaks Hospital in Illinois promises no waits at all. As of last week, patients could skip the waiting room and go directly to a private room where treatment starts as registration is done bedside.”
The article doesn't explicitly mention Lean, but the process change shown above could come through a Lean process. Lean never says “do stuff faster,” whether it's a factory or a hospital. Lean thinking pushes you to take out waiting time by CHANGING the process.
As Deming said (I might be paraphrasing), the last thing we need is everybody trying their hardest as part of a bad system. We need to change the system, this is good for the patients, the employees, and the hospital.
That will be one of the major themes in my upcoming book, “Lean Hospitals.” The book is underway, I'll post my progress as we go (and my writing actual vs .'takt time'), stay tuned.
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