Podcast #271 – Interview with Isaac Mitchell on Lean Design in Healthcare


Joining me for Episode #271 is Isaac Mitchell (@IsaacMitchell), talking about Lean Design for healthcare, the Society for Health Systems, and more.

Isaac is a full-time lean practitioner at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, a lecturer at the University of Tennessee's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and an instructor for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.

You can read his bio (PDF) and learn more about Isaac via his personal website. Scroll down to the show notes for links to a special Lean Hospitals book excerpt and more free downloads about Lean Design and Isaac's work at ETCH.

Streaming Player (Run Time 48:09)

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For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/271.

  • Talk about the start of your career as an Industrial Engineer… what were some of the key things you learned from Toyota?
  • How do often do people say to you, “But patients aren't cars?” How do you respond and engage with people in healthcare about this?
  • What are some of the results that ETCH has seen thanks to Lean?
  • In the 3rd edition of Lean Hospitals, you helped me write a case study about Lean Design at ETCH… can you walk us through this case study?
    • What led to using Lean Design? What were the aims in terms of what would be different compared to old approaches?
    • Follow up questions, as needed:
      • How were staff and patient/families involved?
      • How were mockups used and to what benefit?
    • What's new since the case study was written a year ago?
    • How is Lean Design a natural extension of Lean Daily Management?
  • We've both been involved in the Society for Health Systems – describe your involvement, not just in the annual conference each year, but in general…

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS, through Android apps, or via Apple Podcasts.  You can also subscribe and listen via Stitcher.

Thanks for listening!

Podcast Summary

You can also read and download this four-page PDF summary of the podcast:

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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. Thanks Mark and my team at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for the opportunity to share our heartfelt work with your LeanBlog.org audience. I am happy to field any questions and discussion from your audience in the comments section or you can reach out directly to me via email at ibmitchell@etch.com.


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