Podcast #282 – Lisa Yerian, MD & Nate Hurle from Cleveland Clinic on Lean


My guests for Episode #282 of the podcast are two continuous improvement leaders from Cleveland Clinic: Dr. Lisa Yerian and Nate Hurle. Lisa is the Medical Director, Continuous Improvement and Nate is the Senior Director, Continuous Improvement. She's a doctor, he's an engineer, and they work together very closely in their efforts to help drive improvement at the Clinic. You can find them on Twitter as @LisaYerianMD and @NateHurle.

I've had the chance to visit the Clinic twice in the past 18 months to meet with them and see some of their work and progress (and, as they would emphasize, the work of all of the leaders and staff they are educating and coaching). Here's my blog post about my visit in late 2015.

In today's episode, we talk about topics including the Cleveland Clinic Improvement Model (see my previous posts on this), how their program is structured, what a “culture of continuous improvement” means to them and their staff, how to get others to accept Lean and C.I. methods, and some of the challenges they are facing in their work.

I also wanted to mention that Lisa is presenting next week at The Eighth Annual Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit, which takes place May 22-24, 2017, at the Cleveland Convention Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It's short notice, but I hope you can join them.

Streaming Player (Run Time 50:00)
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For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/282.

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

Topics and Questions in the Episode

  • Please introduce yourselves… what's your professional background and how did you get introduced to Lean and CI? – we have an Industrial Engineer and an MD
  • Cleveland Clinic has a worldwide reputation for clinical excellence… what was the impetus for CI?
    • How do you define/describe CI, as Lean and other methods combined?
    • (Describe the CCIM – Cleveland Clinic Improvement Model)
      • How consistent and standardized does that need to be?
      • Is it important to have a model that's “yours” as an org?
  • How is the CI “program” (is that the right word even?) structured at Cleveland Clinic?
    • How are you working to create a culture of continuous improvement?
    • How do you divide your responsibilities?
  • What's the level of acceptance for these ideas at different levels?
    • How are you getting MDs interested and participating?
  • What are some of your big challenges these days?
  • You've been tweeting a lot (Lisa especially)… how have you found that sharing and transparency to be helpful?
  • Mark's post for LEI on standardization as a countermeasure

PDF Episode Summary

You can read a PDF summary of this post, below:

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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. Great podcast Mark! So helpful to hear more about the Cleveland Clinic’s improvement model and overall approach to continuous improvement. As a CI Director at a large AMC it’s inspiring to hear about how an AMC of the size and caliber of Cleveland Clinic has developed a true culture of improvement. Also love Lisa and Nate’s style and approach. Much to learn from them for sure.

    Also Mark thank your dedication and work on your podcasts! They are a key part of my personal development plan for sure!

    Keith Murphy

  2. Thanks for your comment, Keith! We continue to learn from others (especially Mark!) so we’re happy to share whatever we can! We’re glad you found it helpful.


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