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The Nun and the Bureaucrat (Book & DVD)
The Nun and the Bureaucrat (Book & DVD)
by Louis M. Savary and Clare Crawford-Mason
(1 Review)

List Price: $40.00

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Bulk purchase discounts are available only to business and education entities where books are used for internal learning purposes.

This set contains both a DVD of the PBS documentary Good News…How Hospitals Heal Themselves and the companion book The Nun and the Bureaucrat.

Many hospital administrators, physicians, and nurses know four facts: (1) that most American hospitals are sick; (2) that they are crippled by inadequate and outdated management practices, unnecessary duplication of services, and astounding waste; (3) that hospitals generate many avoidable, often deadly, mistakes—including countless “near misses”; and (4) that it is in hospitals where the turnaround in healthcare costs and safety must begin.

Louis Savary and Clare Crawford-Mason, From the Foreword for The Nun and the Bureaucrat


The remarkable story of how healthcare professionals found a powerful but unlikely cure for what ails hospitals and healthcare is clearly and invitingly told in The Nun and the Bureaucrat/Good News…How Hospitals Heal Themselves, a book and DVD set.

The Nun and the Bureaucrat describes how doctors, nurses, and administrators at SSM Health Care, one of the largest Catholic healthcare systems in the U.S. (the Nun), and the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative (the Bureaucrat) adapted concepts and tools from the Toyota Production System to recognize and eliminate non-value-creating steps in processes. An important lesson was to tackle the complexity of hospitals with a “systems thinking” approach of viewing and transforming organizations as a whole rather than as a collection of separate parts or departments.

 “What these hospital personnel gained from Toyota,” write authors Louis M. Savary and Clare Crawford-Mason, “was the knowledge, training, and scientific tools to develop teams of people who could:

  • become greater than the sum of their parts,
  • work together more effectively and efficiently,
  • continually improve the processes involved in their jobs,
  • see how their individual work contributes to the aim of the whole system.”

The 272-page book and one-hour DVD set was designed and priced to be used as a resource at all levels of healthcare organizations, companies, schools, or government agencies. It is currently being used in colleges to teach systems thinking, because the hospital example is familiar territory.

The set was developed to help people see work with what one leader called “new eyes.” Rather than focusing on solving the problems of an organization’s individual parts, management and employees in The Nun and the Bureaucrat learned how to focus on creating a cooperative environment in which people pursued continuous improvement of processes, the larger system, and themselves.

The book and DVD show how everyone in the organization can improve the system every single day. The book recounts how doctors and nurses were dubious that the Toyota system would work in their hospital and today are delighted by their increased effectiveness and time with patients.

“It will inspire and instruct an entire organization to create a single vision of a new system designed around the patient,” said Michael Brassard, president of LEI’s Lean Learning Materials value stream. “Just as importantly, it shows how everyone—from the CEO to the newest department hire—can help make that system better every day.”

Both the book and DVD of the PBS documentary Good News...How Hospitals Heal Themselves were created by CC-M Productions, creators of one of the most-watched documentaries in U.S. history, If Japan Can…Why Can’t We? This landmark 1980 NBC white paper introduced Dr. W. Edwards Deming to an American audience and is often cited as the catalyst for the U.S. quality revolution. Good News…How Hospitals Heal Themselves is written and hosted by Lloyd Dobyns, the Peabody Medal-winning journalist who hosted If Japan Can…Why Can't We?

The set has been reduced from its initial professional management price of $165 to $40 because the producers, who did the project pro-bono, wanted to make the set available for both professional managers and anyone who might have to use a hospital or advise a relative, so they will be better able to recognize and demand continually improving care.

Interim results from individual hospitals included:

  • an 85% reduction in hospital-acquired infections that were often fatal and cost $30,000–$90,000 each,
  • a 63% reduction in central line infections since 2001, half of which are fatal and each cost $30,000 to treat,
  • lowering of staph infections from 26 per thousand patients to 8 per thousand,
  • decreasing intensive care unit mortality from 5.5% to 3.3%,
  • shrinking acute diabetic complications from 13.5% to 5%.


Receive a 20% discount on The Nun and the Bureaucrat/Good News…How Hospitals Heal Themselves book/DVD set when you order 10 or more copies!


Publisher:  CC-M Productions, Inc.
ISBN-13:  0-97799461-0-X
SKU:  610X
Publication Date:  May 1, 2006
Number of Pages:  272
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