Seán Paul Teeling on Lean Healthcare and Covid-19 Treatment in Ireland

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My guest for Episode #387 of the podcast is Seán Paul Teeling, who joins us from Dublin, Ireland. He is the Programme Director for the Professional Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Lean Healthcare at UCD Health Systems. Seán Paul is also an Assistant Professor in Health Systems/Mater Lean Academy. He was previously Lean Manager at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Dublin. You can read his full bio here.

Seán Paul and I have collaborated a few times — I was invited to give a virtual lecture last year and I had the opportunity to visit the hospital and the Lean Academy last November, leading a workshop for a group there about continuous improvement and the methods from Measures of Success (yes, I had my “red bead game” kit with me).

Seán Paul also invited me to review articles and to contribute an editorial to a special supplement about Lean and Six Sigma in the journal International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

In the episode, we discuss the Irish health system and his experience practicing and teaching Lean. We also have the unique opportunity to chat with somebody who designed a Covid-19 clinic and then got treatment in that same clinic (thankfully, he has now recovered).

I hope you enjoy the conversation like I did. You can listen to the audio or watch the video, below.


Streaming Audio Player:



Video of the Episode:


For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/387.


  • Please introduce yourself and your professional background (operating rooms, nursing)
  • How did you first get introduced to Lean?
    • New construction build planning
    • Supply chain
  • What do you see as the biggest opportunities or benefits of Lean in Irish healthcare?
  • A bit of an aside maybe, but people might be familiar with the NHS England model… how is the Irish healthcare system different?
    • Cost pressures?
    • Quality and safety?
  • “Redesigning a system that was never designed in the first place.”
  • Tell us about the Mater Lean Academy and the approach that you take in educating people about Lean?
    • Success stories? Challenges?
    • Interdisciplinary teaching
  • What have been the unique challenges of the Covid-19 era in Irish healthcare?
    • Back into clinical care
    • Covid clinic created – being agile and adapting as new needs were being discovered 
  • What was it like going through treatment for Covid-19?
  • Journal special supplement that we mentioned — International Journal for Quality in Health Care

Thanks for listening or watching!


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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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