Stuff I’m Reading – June 14, 2013: Sleepy Banker, Concerned Workers, Cost Diversity, Conference Diversity


Cute sleepy leopardIt's again time to close some browser tabs and clear out the backlog of articles I've wanted to share but maybe don't merit an entire blog post…

It's time again for “Stuff I'm Reading”… Click on any header for the article I'm referencing.

Banker falls asleep on keyboard and costs bank $293 million after accidentally transferring funds

A banker fell asleep on his keyboard, in particular the “2” key, entering a transfer of 222,222,222.22 euros. A colleague was fired for not double-checking or confirming the error. That's why it's called “human error” – many types of human error involved in this case.

Employee concern grows at hospital

Employees at a California hospital are concerned about the future of their organization and they're more concerned that their ideas aren't being heard. A board member agrees:

“It is my experience that improvement comes from the employees,” he said. “We collectively need to figure out what a good forum is to raise good ideas. I have asked that question. No one has come back with a good solution.”

I hope the hospital does more than a “brainstorming session.” They need to also help make improvement happen (maybe they should look at KaiNexus).

The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill

This piece from the NY Times examines why simple procedures like colonoscopies are so much more expensive in the United States compared to other countries.

California Patient Gets Outrageous Clinical Pathology Laboratory Test Bill from Napa Hospital, Almost 10 Times Higher Than Similar Testing from Quest Diagnostics

My friends at Dark Daily examine why laboratory testing prices can vary so wildly…

Can a community hospital that charges inpatient prices for clinical laboratory testing to a walk-up customer find itself at the center of a media news storm? That certainly is the case in California, where newspapers trumpeted the story of an unhappy consumer stuck with a $4,316.55 bill for a panel of medical lab tests that a national lab would have performed for just $464, about 90% cheaper!

Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit 2013

Blogger Bobby Gladd posted thoughts and many pictures from the recent Summit in Orlando.

He also asked, in an earlier post and tweet, why there wasn't more diversity in the CEO panel that I moderated. Not to sound too defensive, but we did have a woman (Rachelle Schultz) on the panel last year. If we are talking about diversity, we could question the dearth of African-American faces on stage or in the audience at the event and other lean conferences. Do organizers need to do more, as Eric Ries and The Lean Startup conference has done, to attract a greater diversity to the stage and audience?

ED flow means great patient experience − and lives saved

Another blog post from Virginia Mason Medical Center about their Lean improvements.

“The flow process works so well now that the current door-to-balloon time at Virginia Mason is 42 minutes – cutting more than half the time recommended by the ACC/AHA,” says Sharon. “This is a great boost to patient experience and to the lifesaving quality of care provided in the ED.”

That's basically the same results as achieved at ThedaCare, another leading Lean organization. They show what's possible… and they both show the power of Lean as an improvement process that allows YOU to figure out what to improve rather than just blindly copying “best practices” from others.

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous article#Lean Healthcare: The Really Good, the Sort of Bad, and the Ugly
Next articleSnowden-Proofing the NSA
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 Mark

    When you read the various stories, you get the impression, that many of the problems facing Healthcare in the USA, are driven, by the management of the system, and the games insurers play. I think the whole problem is just too many people trying to rack up huge profits off of an essential service. When you see how disheartened most of the actual front line workers are, healthcare looks much like most of the US auto industry, a few get rich, and most people get beaten by a stick to work harder. Both industries need a reality check of sorts, but that won’t happen till they are forced to better account for how their funds are actually being spent. Transparency is the first step to fixing the problem. Any service should cost the same regardless of who is paying for it.

  2. Interesting observation about diversity Mark. I thought of myself first as a CEO but at the conferences I present at I am a unique presence as an Alaska Native. But I work constantly at recruiting others, with extremely modest success so far. I hope to improve on that. I don’t discriminate and have mentored women as well as men.

    • Thanks for the comment, Patrick. It’s easier to see the current state than it is to come up with countermeasures that would lead to greater diversity on stage and in attendance at Lean events. It’s not just the LEI/ThedaCare events… I had a friend recently describe a major global quality conference attendees as “a bunch of white haired men.” I know the conferences and organizations don’t overtly discriminate… so what are the direct causes and root cause(s) of the lack of diversity?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.