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New Book, On the Mend, Prescribes Lean Healthcare to Cure U.S. Healthcare Delivery Waste and Errors

Cambridge, MA, June 15, 2010 — Despite expensive increases in the cost of U.S. healthcare, Americans too often get mediocre results – or worse. National studies show that 15 million incidents of medical harm — drug errors, wrong-side surgeries, infections — occur in the U.S. annually.  


Reducing errors and cost at the same time requires a revolutionary kind of healthcare delivery — lean healthcare, according to John Toussaint, MD, and Roger A. Gerard, PhD, authors of the new book On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry. Toussaint, CEO emeritus of ThedaCare, a four-hospital healthcare system in Wisconsin, and Gerard, its chief learning officer, candidly describe ThedaCare’s lean healthcare journey, an effort that slashed errors, improved patient outcomes, raised staff morale, and saved $27 million dollars in costs without layoffs.

On the Mend readers will learn:

·         How ThedaCare distilled lean principles from industrial companies (including a snowblower maker) into lean healthcare principles: 1) focus on patients and design care around them; 2) identify value for the patient and get rid of everything else; 3) minimize time to treatment.

·         How lean techniques of value-stream mapping and rapid improvement events cut the average “door-to-balloon” time for heart attack patients at two hospitals from 90 minutes to 37.

·         Why traditional modern management is the single biggest impediment to lean healthcare.

·         How the lean concept of “one piece flow” saved time in treating ischemic stroke patients, increasing the number of patients receiving a CT scan within 25 minutes from 51% to 89%.

·         What ThedaCare leaders did to replace medicine’s “shame and blame” culture with a lean culture based on continuous improvement and respect.

·         How senior leaders at other healthcare organizations can begin their own lean transformations using a nine-step action plan based on what ThedaCare did — and what it would do differently.

Praise for On the Mend

"The ideas practiced at ThedaCare in Wisconsin should be adopted across the country. If they are, it will be easy to afford financial access for every citizen, because we will reduce national medical care spending by hundreds of billions of dollars per year, while improving outcomes."

- Paul H. O’Neill, co-founder of the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative and former Alcoa CEO and U.S. Treasury Secretary

“These authors are masters of the change we need; under their guidance, ThedaCare has become a bright spot in the landscape of American health care.”

- Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry

- By John Toussaint, MD, and Roger A. Gerard, PhD

- Published, June 16, 2010, Lean Enterprise Institute

- 181 pages

- ISBN: 978-1-934109-27-4

- $30.00 (hardcover)

- Testimonials, Q&A, excerpts, more: www.onthemendbook.com/ 

- Media: Chet Marchwinski, LEI, cmarchwinski@lean.org, 617-871-2930;  Nicole Singer, Bottom Line Marketing & Public Relations, 414-270-3000, nsinger@blmpr.com 

- Follow on Twitter: leanthinking 

- Become a Facebook Fan: LeanEnterpriseInstitute  and On the Mend

- Connect on LinkedIn: Chet Marchwinski

About the Authors

John Toussaint is the founder and CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value. While president and CEO of ThedaCare, he introduced the successful ThedaCare Improvement System (TIS), a lean healthcare system. 

Roger Gerard is ThedaCare’s chief learning officer. He specializes in executive and management development, process improvement, and the use of lean methodologies in bringing about significant and measurable organizational improvement.

Lean Enterprise Institute

Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc., was founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, PhD, as a nonprofit research, education, publishing, and conference company with a mission to advance lean thinking around the world. Learn more at www.lean.org 

ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value
The ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value is a not-for profit with a mission to change care delivery and payment incentives to reward the best performers on quality and cost and to build and facilitate learning networks of healthcare providers. Learn more at: www.createhealthcarevalue.com/   


ThedaCare™ is a community-owned health system in Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley. It consists of Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, ThedaCare Physicians, Ingenuity First and other health care services. Learn more at: www.thedacare.org.