Operational Solutions instead of Political Solutions
Good column here from Steve Spear (of “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System” fame) and Dr. Donald Berwick (of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement). Prof. Spear does a lot of work in healthcare and you can check out a Podcast that he did on the topic (via the Competing Podcast).
Spear and Berwick set the stage in their piece:
THE CHOICE between expanding health coverage and controlling healthcare costs is a false choice based on a false assumption: that resources committed to healthcare are used efficiently and effectively. The mistaken notion makes budgeting the key decision and masks a much better alternative. There is ample evidence that better care could be provided to more people at lower cost if care delivery were organized in a more sophisticated fashion.
One of the methods for improving the way care is delivered is through Lean. Check out the column for some of the results hospitals are getting, particularly in the area of patient safety.
Spear and Berwick also highlight how fixing processes isn't nearly as glamorous as grand political declarations. We'll hear much more of the latter during our 2008 presidential election cycle.