ThedaCare Featured by TIME as a “Real Face of Healthcare Reform”


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It was great to see this TIME story (which I think is only available online), by Rick Wartzman of the Drucker Institute: “The Real Face of Healthcare Reform.”

Wartzman cites ThedaCare as an organization that is successfully reforming itself AND trying to participate in broader national reform efforts – including transparency and payment reform.

Results cited include:

  • Quality: “Nearly 100% of its patients now rating their experience a 5 out of 5”
  • Cost: “down 25% since 2007”

Their “secret” is no secret to readers of this blog:

The secret: ThedaCare uses Lean, a set of management principles originated by  Toyota  in the late 1940s to build cars.

But, as we know, Lean isn't just about how to build cars better…

Adds our friend, Dr. John Toussaint (find multiple podcasts with him here):

“Believe me, nothing else [other than Lean] works—and I've tried everything,”

The article is a nice summary of ThedaCare's approach and the Lean philosophy. One key nugget:

“Lean is not a program; it is not a set of quality improvement tools; it is not a quick fix; it is not a responsibility that can be delegated,” Toussaint and Texas A&M professor Leonard Berry explained in a piece they  wrote earlier this year  in the journal  Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “Rather, Lean is a cultural transformation that changes how an organization works . . . It requires new habits, new skills and often a new attitude throughout the organization.”

Read more:

You can also listen to a podcast that I did with Len Berry about their article.


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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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