In the last few years, competition and
customer demands have been substantially increasing. Insurance companies
also demand lower charges from the Health Professionals without compromising
quality. Responsibility and Liability are up high and services in all
specialties are at a constantly growing demand. This will keep the same
trend as the "Baby Boomers" reach older age.
Hospital patients grade their experience
based in a number of factors other than the health professional services.
Timely warm food, ease of routinely procedures, personal attention and
The cost of staffing, due to scarcity
has skyrocketed. Energy consumption is outrageous. Most supplies are costly
and require extreme care to preserve them. Spaces are always insufficient.
Still many of these valuable resources are constantly underutilized! This
sub-utilization of resources normally goes overlooked. The main reason for
this is a quite common answer: "It is the way it has always been
Nurses are overwhelmed by big lots of
workload, and so are physicians, receptionists, accountants, administrators,
support teams, kitchen personnel, and even volunteers. This causes errors.
Errors are costly and in some cases even deadly. Though there is a
great opportunity for improvements, few of the people involved in this rush
can stop for a moment and THINK: What am I doing with my time? How can I
improve my effectiveness? How can I contribute to create a better experience
and service to my customers? How can I save effort and still be of better
service? How can we avoid errors? What do I think could help me do a better job? Which improvements
can be done to my work space?
Most of these answers are common to the
manufacturing arena. For that reason, many healthcare institutions have
turned to Lean experts, some have gone all the way to Japan to learn some of
the basics. Leading manufacturers in America have also open their doors for
healthcare personnel to observe, understand, assimilate and apply these efficiency
principles to their daily activities.
There is an analogy that I frequently
bring up about what is happening in the traditional business environments.
One day, as part of an improvement workshop (Kaizen Event), I asked a
maintenance manager what was the main problem he would like to solve in his
plant. He told me that his objective of implementing preventive maintenance
had been in the "back burner for more than three years". When I
asked "Why?", he said: "We are too busy running after the
escaping chicken, so we cannot devote enough time to fix the fence in the
Sounds familiar? How many times we know
what we could do to save some time and money, but we do not have time or
money to invest into it. This is called "living with the problem"
and we can start making a difference right now.
We understand the complexity of this
situation and are ready to provide help. We will use an approach that
healthcare providers are familiar with: First we will find exactly
"where is the pain". The results will start showing up faster than
you can imagine, once we can devote even if minimal resources (time and
money) to address that pain: the most important opportunities. Sometimes
they are called "problems", but we change the name to
opportunities because that is exactly what they are. With those results the
enterprise will start feeling the relief they need to breathe easier.
Recuperation is underway. The healthier the patient the faster the
recuperation. Fortunately, this is not as difficult as human medicine, and
just a handful of our "treatments" will do the magic. We have very
clear-cut remedies and systematic error-proof treatments and once they are
learned by the teams, those teams can keep applying them again and again,
producing residual savings and progress in a healthier operation.
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