Tampa Bay Business Journal Features Lean at Moffitt Cancer Center

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The full article requires a subscription, but John Toussaint and I were each quoted in this article from last Friday: “Toyota techniques drive profit, efficiency gains at Moffitt.”

As with many of these articles, the full story tells a picture of quality improvement and patient benefit, but the headline focuses just on cost and efficiency. I guess that's natural for a business publication where readers might naturally zero in on words like profit, cost, and efficiency over quality.

I can't share the full article here, but I'll quote some of the data shared by the  H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.

From a financial standpoint, they moved from a loss of $21.5 million in in FY 2009 to a profit of $19.6 million in FY 2010. About $5.3 million of the financial improvement was attributed to Lean and process improvement, although it's often difficult to know for sure.

Some other improvement data (with the caveat that I wish we got more than just simple before-and-after comparisons, as I blogged about here).

  • On-time starts for the first surgery of the day improved from 13% of the time to 73% of the time
  • Patient waiting time for blood draws was cut in half
  • Patient satisfaction for chemotherapy “jumped 27 percent” (I assume it increased by 27 points…)

The article has comments from their P.I. lead who emphasizes that improvements (such as scheduling process  improvements) come from the front-line staff.

One comment from that lead:


Because staff members  now feel like they own the process, they are constantly looking at areas that could be improved, and there are  more projects than Mason's seven-person department can handle, said Kolosky, who oversees the initiative.

Because staff members now feel like they own the process, they are constantly looking at areas that could be improved, and there aremore projects than Mason's seven-person department can handle, said Kolosky, who oversees the initiative.

This is why hospitals (and other organizations) can't completely rely on the “lean department” to drive and manage all improvement. A Lean department can play a critical role in teaching and coaching and even leading some major projects, but you have to get everybody involved with Lean and kaizen (such as front-line staff and front-line managers).

My quote from the article:

Leadership participation is one key to ensuring Lean is effective, said Mark Graban, senior fellow at the Lean  Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit in Cambridge, Mass. Lean also requires a more collaborative management  style, and managers who are comfortable with a top-down culture might find it challenging, he said.

Thanks to the Tampa Bay Business Journal for featuring the Lean work at Moffitt (which started  initially  with consultants from GE, as the article mentions).

Boston Business Journal also featured lean healthcare last week, for those of you who subscribe.

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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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