Is Lean a global phenomenon, or what? Here is a story from a Korean news website (in English) about a German consulting firm that's an offshoot of a manufacturer (Porsche) helping hospitals improve in Luxembourg. All based on a system that the Japanese (Toyota) developed based on what they learned from Americans (Henry Ford and Dr. Deming) and others. Makes your head spin, eh?
The article describes the work that Porsche Consulting has done with hospitals. This is not unlike General Motors' employees working with hospitals in Michigan over the past decade. Say what you will about GM, the company, they had many capable people who have helped Lean take strong roots in Michigan healthcare.
Read the linked article for details, but the improvements described clearly benefit all stakeholders — patients, physicians, staff and assistants, and the hospital itself. You'll read stories of improved processes, shorter waiting times, and better use of staff time.
And you think a lack of patient focus and political pressure is only a part of the American health system? An MD from Luxembourg was quoted as saying:
An operating theater is used by many doctors on the basis of personal considerations rather than in the sense of the greatest possible use,” urologist Dr. Michael Nathan, head of the Luxembourg Hospital Center Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch, told “Caracho”, Porsche Consulting's customer magazine. Nathan fears: “Soon, we won't be able to forgive this type of waste anymore. As long as we doctors are unable to prove that we are working highly efficiently, politicians will rightly cut us down.“
Personal considerations instead of patient focus — what's convenient for the physicians? Telling patients to all arrive at 6 am regardless of when their surgery will take place. Scheduling patients for 90 minutes before the specialist even plans on arriving to the clinic so they can ensure they are always 100% utilized?
Can U.S. healthcare prove it is working efficiently and that there's no waste? It becomes harder to fight back against payment cuts from the U.S. Federal Government when there is so much unaddressed waste in the system, don't you think?
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