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Alice Lee on the Challenges and Rewards of Applying Lean to Healthcare

by Lean Enterprise Institute & Alice Lee
August 15, 2013

Alice Lee on the Challenges and Rewards of Applying Lean to Healthcare

by Lean Enterprise Institute & Alice Lee
August 15, 2013 | Comments (4)

In this video, Jeanne Dasaro sits down with Alice Lee, VP of Business Transformation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, to discuss BIDMC's unique application of lean thinking and practice to healthcare. "This is critical treatment, life saving treatment, so flow is very important," Lee says. "It’s important in every industry, but in this case it was very meaningful. We were able to get flow in such simple ways that I’m still astounded."

Why translate lean for hospitals? Where do lean change agents in healthcare even begin? Lee shares her thoughts in response to these questions and more.

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Alice Lee is the Vice President of Business Transformation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. In 2004, Lee envisioned a department of Business Transformation to help BIDMC team members survive and thrive in an unknown future, proactively manage change, and align systems and structure to support business direction and goals.

Jeanne Dasaro is a Boston-based storyteller, activist, and event coordinator. Dasaro believes stories have the power to inform, connect, and inspire–all things that embolden us to make a difference in our communities.

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The Lean Enterprise Institute.
Keywords:  healthcare
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4 Comments | Post a Comment
Mark Graban August 15, 2013
12 People AGREE with this comment

This is great... thanks for sharing the story from Alice and I hope you'll add more videos like this on The Lean Post.


It's always inspiring to hear about what Alice and the team at BIDMC are working on to improve healthcare for their patients and their organization.



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Luis Guillermo Grasso August 22, 2013
3 People AGREE with this comment
There is two worlds in this issue, Medicine service and Engineering and I'm trying to descrambling in how to sold ideas to people has other point of view in relation to service, I'm Engineer and when I go with the doctor I see all the extra times those guys expend in doing something that for an Engineer can do in the half of time, so if some body has a experience in implementing this methods on helthcare business please help me for my better understanding.

Thanks,
L.G. Grasso 
I.E.


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Alice Lee August 27, 2013
9 People AGREE with this reply

Luis, In my experience (excuse my generalizing), engineers are not that different from clinicians. Both tend to be methodical and are drawn to their chosen profession because they want to help others by solving problems. Our physicians are natural lean thinkers because they already approach their work by understanding the current condition of their patient, doing diagnostics to collect data before determining a plan of treatment to get the patient to a better condition.


That said, it can be difficult to 'see' opportunities in one's own workplace especially when you are busily working and so we often organize gemba walks to similar work areas for physicians which helps them to easily see the potential improvement opportunities. When they intentionally 'go to see', they actually can see!



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Practicing MD January 15, 2014
9 People AGREE with this reply
Alice, That is an interesting and insightful point. We are so immersed in the chaos that we call "process", it is impossible to see what could be done. We usually ask for more staff and more exam rooms to improve the bottlenecks but you make me think we can study the chaos and perhaps design an actual process that works. Thank you for giving us at the front some hope!

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