A Call for (Daily) Healthcare Kaizen Examples
As regular readers know, I'm working on a second book: Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Improvements. My co-author, Joe Swartz, and I have a lot of examples of “daily kaizen” that will be shared in the book. The idea isn't to copy the specific ideas as much as it is to illustrate the methods for getting, implementing, and sustaining small, low-cost, low-risk improvements that make people's work easier and improve patient care.
Do you have examples you would want to share and maybe have published?
Joe's organization, Franciscan St. Francis Health, has been using the “Quick and Easy Kaizen” method, as taught by Norman Bodek, for at least five years with great results. In this method, improvements are written up in a “Kaizen Report,” as shown below:
It's a simple, yet effective method for documenting and recognizing improvements, no matter how small. Tell (or show!) the before and after and write a statement about the impact of the improvement.
Also featured in the book are examples from other organizations I have worked with, where we have used “visual idea boards” (instead of ineffective suggestion boxes) and what one client of mine dubbed the “Kaizen Wall of Fame” report, as shown below, in a picture from my first book, Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction:
Do you have similar examples from your healthcare organization that you would want to share and maybe have published in our book? If so, email Mark. Or, you can post a description of your kaizen methods in the comments for other readers to learn from… if you use Norman Bodek's approach or any other variation (inspired by Lean Hospitals or otherwise), it would be great to hear about it even if you're not looking to get an example published.
If you have examples of “kaizen events” (aka Rapid Improvement Events or Rapid Process Improvement Workshops), that's really a topic for a different book (and good books on kaizen events have already been written, such as The Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service, and Technical Environments and Kaizen Event Fieldbook: Foundation, Framework, and Standard Work for Effective Events).
Joe and I are passionate about daily continuous improvement and feel that's been an under appreciated topic in healthcare. There's been a lot of fuss about week-long events and for good reason – you can get great results from them, as organizations like ThedaCare, Virginia Mason, and others demonstrate. But both organizations have moved toward a more balanced approach of using both events AND daily continuous improvement. We briefly discuss kaizen events as one of the modes of improvement within the Lean and kaizen frameworks… but you can already about events (and their Lean culture) in the books about THOSE two organizations: On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry and Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience.
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