Going Lean in Health Care
Posted on August 17, 2005 Comments (6)
Going Lean in Health Care a report from the Institute for Healthcare improvement based on presentation by James Womack and others. This report is an another excellent resource from IHI, which I have mentioned before is doing great things. This is defineately worth reading.
The concept called lean management” or “lean thinking” is most commonly associated with Japanese manufacturing, particularly the Toyota Production System (TPS). Much of the TPS way of thinking is based on the work of quality guru W. Edwards Deming, who taught, among other things, that managers should stop depending on mass inspection to achieve quality and, instead, focus on improving the production process and building quality into the product in the first place.
These types of improvements are needed system wide. As we posted earlier Health Care costs reached a record high percentage of GDP last year (15.3%). This problem continues to grow more than two decades after Deming included the high cost of health care as one of the seven deadly diseases.
Some try to implement lean ideas without properly setting the stage by instituting policy’s such as Virginia Mason’s no layoff policy. Lean ideas will not work, as they should, without changes to the way the organization makes decisions. Failing to understand this factor is one reason some organizations are frustrated with the results they experience when trying to apply lean thinking.