As I was researching and writing my book, I conducted an online survey (non-scientific) about hospitals and their experiences with Lean methods. I am going to be sharing some of the summary results, as well as some specific responses (keeping the respondents' information confidential).
If you took my survey and signed up for the mailing list for my book, you'll receive a full summary of the survey responses, or stay tuned here. I'll be publishing small bits and pieces over the next couple of months.
Question #4 from the survey:
Do you have a hospital wide name for your Lean efforts (such as “Hospital Name Production System”)? If so, what is it?
Right about 50% of respondents said “No.” The free form responses included:
- Patient Flow Project, Administrative Project is not yet named
- SPPI – System for Productivity and Performance Improvement (pronounced like “spy”)
- Process Improvement
- Process Improvement
- Operational Excellence
- Quality Plus
- The [University] Quality System
- Performance Improvement or Performance Excellence
- Process Excellence
- Vision 20012
- [Health System Name] Performance Excellence System
- Lean Resource Center
- Building Better Care
- Just ‘Lean Six Sigma'
- [Hospital Name] Production System
- Business Process Improvement
- Customer Value Improvement Process
In my experiences with hospitals, many wish to put “their own stamp” on the approach, creating a sense of something that is being created within the hospital rather than something that is being adapted from the outside.
At the same time, organizations need to be able to share some amount of common language and appreciation of common methods that are used across hospitals. In some cases, the word “Lean” is used within the hospital's process improvement leaders, but the term is not used widely with hospital staff.
There is often fear of connotations that the word “Lean” might bring. Lean sometimes seems to imply “cuts” — in budgets or people — although Lean thinkers would realize these are not the goals of a true Lean implementation.
I think there are no blanket correct answers to this general question — do we call this “Lean” or do we call it something else in our hospital? It's typical for a hospital to develop a name, such as ThedaCare Improvement System or Virginia Mason Production System, once Lean has taken hold at more than a departmental level.
What are your thoughts on this, either for hospitals or in other industries? Feel free to add your comments here on this post.
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