1. Lean Management in China
- The work: Since 2012, Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine has applied lean thinking in three areas, to solve three problems (although lean thinking has spread to other places within the organization): the reduction of errors in the infusion process at the respiratory inpatient unit; reducing unnecessary rerouting in the outpatient clinical process; and improving the first case on-time rate of surgical operations.
- Key reflections: The transformation team learned that lean thinking is possible in China and possible in hospitals assuming that improvement projects are championed by members of the hospital’s top leadership team and are aligned with business goals. Not surprisingly, cross-functional teams were critical. Coaching and a “humble inquiry” approach created opportunities for frontline workers to give feedback and share ideas openly. Read the full story.
2. Doctors and Nurses Who Act as Problem Solvers in Spain
- The work: Lean transformation happens different ways, we know that lean is both personal and situational for individuals and organizations. At a public hospital just outside of Barcelona, Consorci Sanitari del Garraf, since 2014 it’s happened through an enthusiasm of staff – physicians and nurses who are committed to high-quality, patient-centered, integrated healthcare. In this case, the work has been about a taking on a different approach to work, management, and problem solving. Doctors and nurses changed their leadership and management/teamwork behaviors.
- Key reflections: In reflection, CEO Josep Lluís Ibáñez Pardos says it’s been these team members’ commitment to a focus on PROCESS that made the difference in addition to direct involvement from top leadership (himself, the CEO), and a promise that lean thinking would not in any way lead to anyone getting fired. Read more of Pardos’s reflections here as well as reflections from Dan Jones (of Lean Enterprise Academy UK), who visited the hospital this past fall.
3. Using Lean Thinking to Rebuild NYC’s Complex Public Healthcare System
- The work: Joanna Omi, Senior VP of Innovation and Organizational Effectiveness, has led a team in a multi-year, ongoing project to rethink and redesign NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation’s systems using lean thinking. Omi’s transformation team began by tackling thorny problems like chronic illness (diabetes, hypertension, adult and childhood asthma, among others); financial stability and revenue generation; and access to primary care for the 1.3 million NYC residents they serve. They made enough gains to continue on, focusing on sustainability and spreading lean learning in other areas. At the enterprise level, they focused on improving financial systems, supply chain issues, and physician services. In tandem with this activity, they encouraged department heads to determine their own priorities, applying lean thinking where they saw fit. They improved flow in the ER and made lean leadership positions in the organization highly sought after positions in order to attract the strongest candidates.
- Key reflections: Omi says their focus on standardized work is what makes possible other, patient-centered gains as well improvements and successes to be shared across facilities. Calling their transformation work project “Breakthrough”, Omi says her team’s efforts have necessitated and made way for a totally different approach to leadership – one that empowers and solicits the ideas of frontline staff to make a meaningful difference every day. Read the full story.