Stuff I’m Reading: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly in Healthcare


The list of stuff I've read and wanted to blog about has grown… that inventory becomes a post like this.  Here are links to some varied articles I've read recently that might be of interest on a number of Lean related topics, a grab bag of topics related to healthcare design, leadership, quality, and IT.

Bellingham author: ‘Lean' design for hospitals can save space, money and lives: Article about my friend Naida and her book Lean-Led Hospital Design: Creating the Efficient Hospital of the Future.

U.S. Ties Hospital Payments to Making Patients Happy (WSJ):  I'd rather see more focus on “not harming me” instead of “making me happy” with superficial things like mini water fountains in my patient room.

Hospital CEO support crucial to quality, safety efforts (Hospital Impact):   CEOs play an important role, but “There is an old adage in change management called the “20 foot rule.” If you truly want to know how to make a change to improve quality, engage the people who are within 20 feet of a task or process.”

Lean no benefit to health care (Star Phoenix, Saskatchewan):    “The Health Ministry plans to spend $38 million on consultants over the next four years to certify an additional 350 managers across Saskatchewan in lean management.” I'm not sure certifying anybody is really the goal here – it's about improving patient care and providing better value.

Breaking News: Health Information Technology Sucks and it Costs too Much (The Health Care Blog): “A common statement one hears in healthIT conversations is that doctors hate technology or are afraid of it.  Hogwash. They only hate  bad  technology.”

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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. Hi this focus on “Lean” and “Six Sigma” is in danger of taking the eye off the picture. For 20 years or more ISO9001 has been the certified Quality Management System goal. Both the above methods can play a key part in rationalising efficiency and effectiveness of processes. But ISO9000 are the standards and provide the structure for suppliers and customers to interface at all levels. It has worked so well across other service industries and manufacturing too. Healthcare is a service industry and the term “industry” applies even more so in the USA.

    • The focus is on quality, safety, patient access, cost and staff morale… at least here on this blog. Lean is my preferred method for making that all happen. From my experience in industry, I would have just about zero faith in ISO doing much to help in healthcare. Healthcare already has its version of ISO certification in the Joint Commission surveys and accreditation. Just as I worked at and saw some lousy factories that were ISO certified, there are many bad hospitals that have the stamp of approval from the Joint Commission.

      Do you have any evidence that ISO is helping in healthcare, Patrick?


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