Recent Interviews with John Toussaint; “Gemba Visit” to Park Nicollet


I'm currently in Minneapolis, where today is Day 2 of our Healthcare Value Leaders Network “Gemba Visit” to Park Nicollet (read more about these visits here). Dr. John Toussaint, author of the book On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry, is here with us as always (pictured at left during part of our visit to their “3p mockup area” used for space and process design work.

We've had a great visit so far, including seeing the newly-designed cancer center that I blogged about before (including a YouTube video about the center where “care comes to the patient”).

I'll have more thoughts to share about the visit next week (including the value of learning and collaborating without copying), but I'll link today to two recent interviews with John.

Business901 Podcast with Joe Dager

Listen to John being interviewed by Joe Dager (who has also previously  interviewed me before about lean healthcare and about social media).

You also have option of reading the interview with John as a free e-Book instead of listening.

iSixSigma Interview

You can read an interview with John titled “Is Lean the Secret to Curing Healthcare?

From the interview:

Terry: What are the biggest challenges to implementing Lean in a hospital setting?

Toussaint: I think part of it is that staff members aren't familiar with any of these concepts. We never get trained on any of this stuff in our [career] training programs. So people are quite unfamiliar with these quality improvement tools and with the concepts of getting decision making and improvement down to the level of the frontline worker. It's actually fascinating to me that that isn't the case in healthcare. We have a very highly educated workforce that goes through years of training, but the fact that they don't get any training in continuous improvement and they don't have a clue how to do a Plan-Do-Study-Act improvement cycle – it's really quite shocking actually. So we have to overcome that by retraining – both physicians and nurses and others – in this very basic set of continuous improvement principles.

And then, we touched on before, this issue of the cultural component. Healthcare is full of, what I describe in the book as, the “shame and blame” – if you make a mistake, you're a bad doctor or a bad nurse. But in fact, 99 percent of [mistakes] are process problems. The processes in healthcare are perfectly designed to get the results they're getting – which are lots of errors and massive cost problems. That's what's great about the Lean methodology…it takes all the blame away and really starts to focus in on what's the process change that needs to occur in order to improve the result. And that's easier said than done, but I think that's one of the biggest issues – to be able to change the culture from shame and blame to continuous improvement and using data to make decisions.

Read the whole interview at Your thoughts?


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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