Podcast #310 – Steve Shortell, The Impact of #Lean on Healthcare Quality

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Joining me again for Episode 310 is Stephen M. Shortell Ph.D., MPH, MBA. He is Blue Cross of California Distinguished Professorship, HPM and is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

He was previously a guest on Episode 267 talking about the establishment of the Center for Lean Engagement and Research (CLEAR) at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is the director.

In this episode, we talk about some initial research that they released in a paper that was published in The Joint Commision Journal on Quality and Patient Safety:

“Use of Lean and Related Transformational Performance Improvement Systems in Hospitals in the United States: Results From a National Survey”

Shortell said that the article will hopefully be freely available soon.

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For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/310.

Topics and notes for this episode:

  • Can you please remind the viewers about the CLEAR research center, as we talked about in episode #267?
    • U.S. or international scope?
  • How do you and your research define Lean? – did this evolve? “Doing Lean?”
    • You mention the front-line staff, but what about the role of leaders, in particular, senior leaders?
  • You've released what I believe is your first study about the adoption and impact of Lean in U.S. hospitals – what are some of the key findings?
    • Mitigating the risk of painting a rosy picture?
    • Is there a risk of “self reported” maturity being inaccurate?
  • 69% said they were “doing Lean”
    • Called and followed up those that didn't respond
    • Still over 50% of those said yes
    • “Some aspect of Lean” – 61 or 62%
  • How do you measure “the degree of Lean implementation?”
    • What does “Lean maturity” mean? – taken as part of the culture
    • Does culture survive a CEO change?
    • How does one measure the adoption of a daily management system?
    • Engagement of the board?
  • Did you find any differences between Lean, “Lean Plus Six Sigma,” and Robust Process Improvement, or was that all lumped together?

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.

Thanks for listening!


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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.

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