Protecting Patients *IS* Affordable Care

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Just heard on CNN, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts:

“… Congress had a balanced intent. You can't look at another provision and say this promotes patient protection without asking if it's affordable.”

Unfortunately, it seems the Chief Justice may have fallen into the common trap of thinking patient safety (a form of patient protection) must inherently cost more and that we must strike a balance. Or the law isn't really about protecting 200,000 Americans from deaths due to preventable medical errors.

So many Lean healthcare efforts are showing that better quality and safety, such as reducing falls, reducing infections, reducing medication errors, actually SAVES money (see examples and data). Our improvement efforts must lead to better safety/quality AND lower costs. Whether the law of 2010 accomplishes either or both is a whole other discussion…

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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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