I read this article in a recent issue of Fortune magazine and have to admit it was the catchy title that caught my interest. "Curing What Ails Our Hospitals” went on to talk about a new design for hospitals that dealt with three problems that afflict most current hospitals. That is:
The article stated that infections were the leading cause of death in US hospitals.
In a play on words, the article quoted Norman Cousins saying that “A hospital is no place for a person who was seriously ill”.
I think that one line summarizes the state of Healthcare in North America.
Rather than just stating the obvious, the authors did offer several countermeasures. I’ve summarized the approach this way – improving the quality of patient care by reducing hospital induced infections will result in lower a length of stay for many patients. A shorter length of stay translates into savings and improved patient (Customer) satisfaction. Combine that with energy efficient buildings and a focus on prevention using team based care and the costs of healthcare can be brought back into line. Makes sense to me – I’d be interested in your opinions.
Their ideas for team based care included small neighbourhood hospitals which sounded a lot like SMED and small lot size needed for flow. Flow occurs in the absence of waste and I could visualize many waste reduction ideas in their design. Having the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others involved in patient care work as a team eliminates many forms of waste and more importantly allows the team to problem solve quickly and efficiently.
It all comes back to the basics of Lean:
Focus on the Customer
Engage team members in problem solving
By doing this, costs will take care of themselves.