Two Blog Posts About “Healthcare Kaizen”


Here are two blog posts that my co-author, Joe Swartz, and I were very happy to see about our book Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements:

From the Virginia Mason Medical Center Blog:  “Could this new book help drive your lean journey?”

And Patrick Anderson's Lean in Alaska Blog:  his review post.

From the Virginia Mason review:

Mark and Joe understand the patience required to do this work well. They recognize the power of the sort of continuous incremental improvement at the heart of the Toyota Production System…  The book is highly detailed and includes helpful discussion questions at the end of each chapter.”

From Patrick's post:

As a lean leader in an organization myself, I was curious to see how Mark and Joe would present their story.

It doesn't take long for the concepts of continuous improvement and respect for people to surface. Kaizen and continuous improvement underscore the first chapter. One cultural concept introduced very early was that failure is actually good for an organization, if they see the failure as a coaching opportunity and use the failure to improve their process. This teaching is contrary to Western management implementation, and as a consequence, many potential improvements are hidden away by employees who don't want to call attention to failures in their value stream.

I think Patrick is right to call out and question the use of annual performance reviews, as practiced by a few organizations in our book. I agree with Dr. Deming's teaching that annual reviews create more dysfunction and harm than good. But, they are the reality in most organizations today and, like Patrick, I hope that many will decide, over time, to do away with them and, instead, “substitute leadership,” as Dr. Deming said.

If some healthcare organizations can get rid of the annual budgeting process, then there's hope that annual reviews can disappear too (listen to a great podcast on that subject).


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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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