Two Upcoming Lean Healthcare Books from Seattle


I'm really excited about these two books coming out later this year — both from innovative leading lean healthcare organizations in Seattle. What's in the water in Seattle? Actually, it's more a matter of the Boeing influence, with the spread of lean ideas from manufacturing to healthcare.

A hospital is not like a factory. Yes, exactly. An airplane factory (Boeing) is not like a car factory (Toyota). Yet lean principles apply in each setting since we're not just copying the tools.

The books:

Due out in November is Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience, by Charles Kenney. Kenney is previously the author of the outstanding book The Best Practice: How the New Quality Movement is Transforming Medicine.

From the publisher, Productivity Press:

A chronicle of one of the most unusual series of events in the history of medicine, this book tells the story a group of men and women – clinicians, administrators, frontline workers, trustees, and leaders – blessed with vision, courage, and a relentless determination to improve. It is the story of a medical center transformed. Ultimately, it is the story of a new and possibly better way to take on the challenge we face in the United States today to provide superb medical care to our people while at the same time controlling costs.

The other book, due out in December, is Leading the Lean Healthcare Journey: Driving Culture Change to Increase Value, from a team of clinical and administrative leaders from Seattle Children's Hospital, including Joan Wellman, a outstanding consultant I interviewed in a podcast last year.

Again, from the publisher:

Blending case studies with practical theory, this book uniquely describes how the healthcare value proposition can be changed by reducing waste, variation, and complexity in healthcare. It reveals the leadership tenacity and culture change required to remove waste from healthcare processes and eliminate the root cause of soaring costs, poor quality and safety, and limited access. It provides practical, applicable advice alongside personal and organizational stories and case studies told by physician and administrative leaders, all students of the Toyota Production System.

You can sign up at to be notified when either book is released. I think these will be helpful additions to the lean literature.

Conflict of interest statement: Productivity Press is the publisher of my book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction.

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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. Also, Dr. Jody Crane from Mary Washington Hospital (Fredericksburg, VA) and the University of Tennessee has a book on Lean in the emergency department coming out in January. The title is The Definitive Guide to Hospital Emergency Department Operations. It’s available for pre-order from Amazon US and UK.


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