May 20, 2014

Lean Healthcare - A Recent Voyage

Healthcare is going through a transformation. Obamacare is one of the changes. Other healthcare organizations are promoting the notion of "lean healthcare." See this website to get the basics.

I had the chance to use a hospital touting lean healthcare. The hospital's goal was stated as "to provide a better user experience and reduce waste." Luckily, I was not the patient. 

Without going into all the aspects of the experience, here are my observations/concerns:

  • Why ask all the patients to make sure they show up at the same time, only to not have enough administrative staff to check them in?
  • If HIPPA has been around for a while now, why is the queuing process of patients so bad?
  • This hospital used barcodes on the patient tags, but absolutely no one scanned the barcode. Instead, the process used was to ask me (I was the designated driver) the same set of questions over and over. I must say they had no sense of humor when I varied my answer slightly each time.
  • Lastly, this was the question that drove me up a wall -  "why are we here every 5 minutes of the pre-operative process?" - does not seem very lean to me.

Okay, so what is my point? If healthcare, with all its revenue sources, and in general, a fairly consistent and repetitive pre-operative process has these issues, how can other businesses have any chance of being 'leaner'?

  • First, nothing beats employee 'buy-in' to the process.  100% buy-in.
  • Second, the existing process must change to become lean. You can not force the existing process to be lean, by simply calling it 'lean.'
  • Have a plan and execute on it - get customer feedback (the healthcare organization did not want mine).
  • Lastly, continuous improvement is required.

It is not an easy journey, but  the reward is worth the effort.

David Haynes, NCARB, PMP, LEED AP
Ideate Director of Consulting

David is a Registered Architect, Project Management Certified Professional, who previously had his own architectural practice and was President of a commercial design-build construction company for 15 years. A graduate of University of Arizona, he has worked as an Architect, contractor, developer and as a national construction manager for a national retailer. David currently provides business process analysis, virtualization and change management solutions for AEC clients across the United States involved in the design and building industry. Follow David on Twitter: @dhaynestech 

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This post was originally published on David’s blog Connecting the [Data]…