Lean Consultant to Fill In as Hospital CEO


Interesting news from Idaho, where an outside Lean consultant has been named interim CEO of St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center (see “Consultant to fill in as T.F. hospital CEO“).

From the article:

Mike Reno, a consultant helping St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center adopt the “Lean” production system used by Toyota Motor Corp., will head the Twin Falls hospital over the next year as it searches for a new CEO.

Is this a first in American healthcare, an outside Lean guy taking over a hospital?

I know of (and have  written about) one Industrial Engineer who is a hospital CEO, but Michael Riordan is a career healthcare person).

Reno is a consultant with RWD Technologies, a firm that has moved into healthcare, like many others.  Here is a presentation from Reno that I found online, referencing St. Luke's Magic Valley. From his bio, Reno also appears to have quite a history as a hospital administrator, as indicated in his LinkedIn profile.

It would have really surprised me to see someone with a “Lean Manufacturing” background be put into that role, even if they had been, say, the CEO of an auto parts supplier. Reno seems to have followed the path of a hospital administrator who got turned onto Lean and then became a consultant for a period of time (with RWD).

From the news story:

According to a bio provided by St. Luke's, Reno started his career in health care in 1997 as a medical sergeant with special operations in the U.S. Army. He served as vice president of the Texas hospital from 2004 to 2008 and then as vice president of operations at Main Line Health System in Philadelphia, Pa., before joining RWD.

The health system CEO (overseeing the hospital) said that, of course, their Lean efforts will continue, adding it's being done:

…with the goal of making hospital procedures more efficient and standardized.

I wish the system CEO had also been quoted talking about quality and patient safety. Standardization is not an end — it's a means. When standardization improves quality (such as reducing V.A.P. rates or reducing surgical errors), that's a good thing. Standardization alone might be a hammer looking for a nail.

Efficiency and quality go hand in hand with Lean, in healthcare or otherwise, so I cringe a bit when I hear Lean being described as just an efficiency approach or only a productivity improvement plan.

The RWD presentation that I linked to above gives some results from their Lean work at different hospitals, including quality and safety related measures:

  • ST elevation myocardial infraction (STEMI) at 100 percent compliance for door to balloon (D2B)
    • This means patients are waiting as long for chest pain treatment
  • Eliminated decubitus ulcers (bed sores)
  • Falls reduced by 50 percent

Those improvements are in addition to measures around cost, patient access/flow, and staff morale.

I added the hospital to my Lean healthcare map at www.leanmaps.com. Feel free to edit the map and add healthcare sites that you know are implementing Lean.

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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. I think it could be a powerful management team that is lead by someone who not only understands lean but can actually implement it as a practice. Will be interesting to follow thier journey!

  2. I started reading it one night, and fell in love with the book immediately. It was like reading a story, in fact this book is full with stories, and amazingly it all felt very current and up to date. Dale Carnegie, the author of the book has shown tremendous skills in communicating his ideas, after all this is one of the main skills he is trying to teach us via his masterpiece. And I read it completely, cover to cover.


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