Three keys to moving beyond Lean lip service

Commitment, courage and confidence needed to deliver needed change to healthcare

By Healthcare Facilities Today
December 2, 2013

GS&P Dialogue

As an industry, the American healthcare system falls into three groups; those that embraced Lean principles early and persevered, those that tried and failed and quit, and those that are just waking up, according to a blog on the Gresham Smith and Partners website.

While reform measures are shifting incentives and establishing penalties in the marketplace, too many major healthcare organizations are taking the easy way out and laying off hundreds if not thousands of associates, said blogger Marc A. Suavé. While some layoffs may be necessary, there are still opportunities for new business models and deeper internal Lean efforts for providers to thrive once again.

"Recognizing this, most hospitals have begun the Lean process improvement stage to eliminate waste, reduce travel distances and minimize inventory, with varying levels of success. A few have begun Lean Six Sigma, fine-tuning standard deviation measurements to the nth decimal point. However, decimal points will only get you so far; process improvement begins and ends with the people. Significant improvement is dependent on successful communication, widespread engagement and serious commitment, on every level, starting with the administrative suite. These are the things that make Lean not just a buzzword, but an answer to healthcare woes.

Leadership must embrace and communicate the magnitude of change, the blog said. The message must demand:

• commitment –additional time and energy will be needed to see this through

• courage – a "just do it" call-to-action to deliver consistently superior service

• confidence – freedom to acknowledge and learn from mistakes without reprisal

Read the blog.



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