Monday, October 3, 2011

Alpha and Omega

By Pascal Dennis

One of the great ironies of our time is the performance gap between Health Care and the so-called Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry.

As anybody who has spent time in the "Waiting Room" will attest. Value-Added time is microscopically small in the former.

By contrast, the good people in the QSR industry are getting better every day -- by applying the Toyota Business System.

Indeed, Business Week has had a series of articles highlighting their achievements.

I grew up in a restaurant, so my heart goes out to people who make the best of slim profit margins, long hours of often difficult work.

Well done, QSR and please continue!

It's easy to make fun, but the best QSR organizations provide excellent value and reliable service, while respecting the customer.

Can Health Care say the same?




  1. Part of the issue that I see with health care is the lack of clarity around 'who is the customer'. In QSR the customer is easy to is the hungry person with money in their hand waiting for food. Health care is less obvious: is it the patient waiting for care? The doctors administering the services? The insurance companies (at least in the U.S.) who foot the bill? Some selection in combination perhaps? I have had the advantage of living both sides of the border and as a result have been the user of both systems; interestingly while there is some disparity---Canadian system is glacially slow, unfriendly, disconnected; American system is swifter (as long as you have insurance), personal and detailed---there are some commonalities as well: massive duplication, marginal thought given to 'flow' or 'value'. Personally I have always held some loose equation where science = progress but we can't necessarily say that in Health Care. Why is that? And why does it seem that nobody really, truly cares to fix it?

  2. Great questions, Andre.

    Confusion about the customer, is no doubt a major root cause of the health care crisis. (More about that in chapter 10 of The Remedy

    In my view, this also contributes to the absence of intensity around problem resolution.

    If the patient isn't the customer, who cares how she is feeling?