A New In-Progress Book by a Friend: #Lean Veterinary Practice Management


If you follow my work, you know that I have published various eBooks through the Leanpub.com platform. Leanpub encourages the publishing and updating of “in-progress books” or what can be called “Lean publishing.” I'm a big believer in this model and you can hear my podcasts with the co-founders of Leanpub from a few years back.

I initially published my latest book Measures of Success on Leanpub before also making it available through Amazon Kindle and Apple Books. The paperback version will be available through the end of the year (sign up for updates here).

So what's the new book and cover pictured here? This is the book being finished by my friend Chip Ponsford, III, DVM. Yes, DVM stands for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Lean Veterinary Practice Management: Higher Quality, Less Waste, Greater Staff Engagement and Continuous Improvement.

As you might see on the cover, I'm writing the Foreword for the book, but this is Chip's writing and project, with all royalties going to him to help further his work in improving veterinary medicine.

I've been involved in “human healthcare” for over 13 years now. I didn't know it could be called “human healthcare” until I spent a week working with a “large animal clinic” (cows, horses, llamas, etc.) at an academic animal that's part of one of the leading veterinary medical schools in the U.S.

I always thought I was working in just “healthcare,” but I'm showing my bias toward the human species :-)

If you think MDs in “human healthcare” sometimes look down upon DVMs, I learned that people in veterinary medicine sometimes jokingly refer to human heatlhcare as “single-species medicine.” People in human healthcare might say, “Every patient is unique” but we are all the same species.

When I spent the week in that large animal clinic setting, I couldn't help but see parallels to how we try to improve human healthcare. I saw staff and doctors who were overburdened and, quite often, working without the structure of good processes. Sadly, I saw people who were working around bad systems and who weren't being engaged in the redesign and continuous improvement of work systems.

Before this glimpse into veterinary medicine, I met Chip back in 2012, when he reached out to me with really thoughtful questions about Lean. We both live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which has allowed us many opportunities to meet up and talk about Lean.

We did a podcast talking about some of this a few years back too (with a leader from a different academic medical center for veterinary medicine):

Podcast #254 – Lean in Veterinary Medicine

And Chip did a webinar for KaiNexus earlier this year:

From Pets to Vets: Applying Lean in Unexpected Places [Podcast Preview & Webinar Recording]

As I'll also write in the Foreword, Chip has been a curious and tireless learner about Lean. There are parallels to my friend Sami Bahri, DDS (“The World's First Lean Dentist), in that Sami didn't have any books that he could read about “Lean Dentistry,” so he read books by Ohno, Shingo, Liker, Womack and others. Sami then ended up writing a great book based on his experiences (it's a book I recommend who people who aren't in dentistry, like Chip).

One way Chip has learned has been to write about Lean on his LeanVets.com blog. I've helped Chip by giving feedback on many of his blog posts and I hope that helps this be a really helpful and eye-opening book.

Here's Chip's blog post from last month where he announced the book.

We've also had the chance to present together at a Texas conference and will be presenting again in January at a national AVMA event in Chicago.

And I'll also share in the Foreword that Chip is uniquely qualified to write a book for veterinary medicine, because he has been both a practice owner and as a veterinarian in a large national chain of clinics, then at a smaller local practice (where I got to shadow him for a day, which was really interesting). He's had an opportunity to try out Lean practices in that smaller clinic setting and is looking to help others. Chip and I agree that it's too bad that he didn't learn about Lean while he still owned his practice in El Paso.

I hope you'll check out the early version of Chip's book. You can read a free sample in PDF format. If you buy the book, you can get a PDF, Kindle, and EPUB formats… or you can read online through the website.

You'll receive updates as new chapters are added and as edits are made. If you want to be an “early adopter” reader, you'll have the opportunity to give feedback to Chip, as well.

He's also going to follow my lead by making the book available in the Amazon Kindle store when it's done and he'll also have a paperback version at some point.

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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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