Eric Buehrens has enjoyed a varied career as executive, consultant, and senior advisor in healthcare and higher education, government and private industry, and as an instructor in Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has been an executive in academic medicine for 20 years, serving as executive dean for administration at Harvard Medical School, deputy provost for administration at Harvard University, executive vice president, COO, and interim CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and as EVP and COO of Reliant Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician group practice.
He first encountered lean teaching more than a decade ago and championed the continuous improvement work at Beth Israel and Reliant. He has led, taught, and coached other leaders, and has led strategic planning processes for several large institutions as an executive and consultant. He is deeply committed to continuous improvement, to building learning organizations, and provides consultation and executive coaching to leadership teams in these areas.
Eric is a graduate of Harvard College, and worked as a shipfitter and union organizer before beginning his professional career in state government, playing a key role in the cleanup of Boston Harbor. He was a developer of privately built, financed, and operated environmental infrastructure projects in the U.S. and abroad. He advises a number of healthcare startup companies, and serves on the board of directors of the Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems, a nonprofit organization devoted to understanding the dynamics of authority and the role of leadership in group processes. He was a member of the Lean Enterprise Institute board in 2016.
Articles by Eric Buehrens
Can Lean Know-How Come Home?
When you decide to stop making things, you lose the ability to make things, argues Eric Buehrens: not just the displaced assembly workers who have had to seek employment elsewhere, but the design, production control, maintenance and quality engineers, the materials and logistics experts, all the technical know-how to manufacture effectively at scale, at world-class quality, and competitive cost. More »
Getting around the lean community more is the summer job of Eric Buehrens, LEI’s CEO, including a stint as Operator #1, which turned out to be the season’s highlight. More »
Sometimes Smaller is Better - and Better is Lean
LEI CEO Eric Buehrens reflects on how lean relates to the deeply hopeful story of renewal, reconstruction, and citizen engagement in places that have been hard hit by deindustrialization, offshoring and all the changes that have adversely affected many regions of the United States over the last decades. More »
Finding a Lean Cure that Respects the Health of Healthcare Workers
In his prognosis of the health care system, LEI CEO Eric Buehrens says we need to improve the work to remove waste and create value; and be advocates for enough “social heijunka” to ensure that resources going to that sector don’t impoverish frontline workers across our society. More »
3 Therapies to Purge the Healthcare “Tapeworm”
LEI CEO Eric Buehrens, former COO and interim CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has three suggestions for Amazon and its recently announced healthcare partners: focus on creating better value, use technology to improve quality and the experience of care, listen to the people doing the work. More »
Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn
Hear how a personal lean transformation supported a crucial organizational transformation following a financial crisis at a large medical center. In this unique Lean Talk, Alice Lee and Eric Buehrens revisit Eric’s lean journey to discuss its challenges and successes. More »
How Are We Doing? And Other Questions for the Lean Community from LEI’s New CEO, Eric Buehrens
Lean Enterprise Institute's new CEO, Eric Buehrens, talks about his new role as not just a leader, but a learner, and poses some questions to the lean community at large. More »