Health Care the Toyota Way

Clare Crawford-Mason produced the 1980 NBC news white paper on W. Edwards Deming that sparked a movement to improve management. She produced the Deming library tapes to help reach those taking steps to improve management and looking for more help. Last year she teamed up with Lloyd Dobbins on a new documentary – Good News – How Hospitals Heal Themselves.

Better Questions, Wiser Answers by Clare Crawford-Mason

For example, doctors and nurses from SSM Health Care, a Midwest system, with 22,000 employees and the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, a group of 40 competing hospitals, report how they did their best in the past, working overtime, while hospital conditions worsened. They were initially dubious and then delighted to learn systems thinking and Toyota methods to improve patient care dramatically and reduce unnecessary deaths, suffering, errors, infections and costs without additional resources or government regulations.

The Deming-Toyota-Baldrige method and systems thinking can improve schools, government agencies or any organization, even military invasions and occupations, because it offers new ways to look at the bigger picture. It allows an organization to be greater than the sum of its parts as the people in the system learn to work together more effectively.

One thing more. The doctors and nurses in the successful hospitals frankly say the patient has been lost amidst new technology, regulations, reimbursements, etc. They say the Toyota approach allows the medical staff to spend more time with patients and deliver more effective care. So the solution is not computers or information. It is a new way of seeing and thinking.

I agree. Related: blog posts on the Toyota Production Systemarticles on improving health careFixing Healthcare from the InsideChange Health Care

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