Healthcare Improvement


Healthcare Improvement means Attaining Operational Excellence, a Competitive Advantage Attained by a Maniacal Focus on Process Improvement

American Healthcare lags behind European Healthcare by having a higher infant mortality rate and a lower death rate and at a higher cost. There are many reasons for this, some that American Healthcare has under its control and some not. Certainly, the Operational Excellence that the Toyota Production System brings is under your control. Continual process improvement, Profound Knowledge of your system, racing into the future with Toyota’s Continuous Improvement, and other benefits. Focus on process improvement like Toyota.
Healthcare organizations have a conflict between patients, doctors, and insurance companies. It may be possible to satisfy each group by putting all your focus on patients. Doctors desire more time with patients and insurance companies want to decrease patient costs. These are two goals adopting the Toyota Production System can accomplish.

Toyota Production System Benefits for Healthcare Improvement include:

  1. Firstly, Just-in-Time (JIT) minimizes excess inventory, reduces lead times, and improves efficiency. Set up a double bin system for supplies,
  2. Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) propagates you into the future at a rate of 11 ideas per year, per employee all in a management-controlled direction, and creates a winning culture,
  3. Knowing the Performance of Every Process gives you Profound Knowledge of your system, and moves you ahead of your competition,
  4. Pull System response to customer demand, generates responsive production, reduces waste, and aligns supply chain demand,
  5. Standardization establishes consistent processes and practices by documenting and promoting best practices. Helps identify areas of deviations and potential improvements,
  6. Respect for People recognizes that employees are the foundation of success. Toyota empowers its workforce and promotes collaboration and teamwork,
  7. Built-in Quality incorporates defect prevention, and error proofing thereby improving customer satisfaction and brand reputation,
  8. Direction to excellence by Guiding Principals,
  9. Strategic Suppliers decrease prices year over year,
  10. Respect for People recognizes that employees are the foundation of success. Toyota empowers its workforce and promotes collaboration and teamwork,
  11. Standardization establishes consistent processes and practices by documenting and promoting best practices. Helps identify areas of deviations and potential improvements,
  12. Built-in Quality incorporates defect prevention, and error proofing thereby improving customer satisfaction and brand reputation,
  13. Pull System response to customer demand, generates responsive production, reduces waste, and aligns supply chain demand,
  14. Visual Management leads to transparency, visual tools, performance visibility, problem visualization, and real-time monitoring.

Healthcare lives in a world of cutthroat challenges. For instance, there is always a push to increase margins. That is exactly where the Toyota Production System comes into play. By implementing components of the Toyota Production System, companies achieve Operational Excellence consequently, they accomplish this through Profound Knowledge of their processes.

Healthcare Improvement, Improved Performance by Turning the Right Knobs

This is an Operational Business Model. For instance, Healthcare is run with a set of operational knobs. Healthcare Improvement is achieved by operating knobs. For example, the size of the knob is relative to its importance, and the range that it can be turned is relative to your authority and capability to effect change. Above all, I suggest you turn up the Operational Excellence knob all the way. Have a look at this 5-minute video and see what knobs you would like to turn up. This is a Business System model:

Measuring the Value Delivered – The Power of a Value Stream

A Value Stream delivers Healthcare Improvement by following all the processes from customer order to customer delivery. Rather than a department-by-department view, it gives you a holistic view of your system’s creation of value. I recommend you create Value Stream Maps for your most critical processes first then move to other processes as needed. This video shows you the power that a Value Stream delivers. As a result, the Toyota Production System uses Value Streams to create Profound Knowledge and Operational Excellence of their Processes:

An Example of Real Waste in Healthcare

This is an example of a floor of healthcare outside waiting rooms. You can’t see it in the picture but there are places for 12 people to do the initial conversation with patients. Let me go through the list of waste that exists in these waiting rooms:

  1. Of the 12 dedicated areas, I would guess that only 4 are manned. Let’s say that you dedicate one to future growth. That leaves 8 areas that are wasted. You can’t tell but the areas are deep also,
  2. All manned dedicated areas check in patients one by one. If they had put self-check-in stations at the end of each walkway people would be checked in right away.

I have some suggestions. First I would measure the peak usage of the dedicated check-in areas and then look at repurchasing the non-used check-in areas. An idea could be to put in a small lab to do quick medical testing or increase the number of waiting rooms for a doctor. The second suggestion has to do with self-check-in. It would not only free up personnel to do something more valuable but the self-check-in could display a large number directing you on where to go. Then When you walk down the floor you would look for the large number that directs you to your appointment.

Generally, individuals working in the medical field are fairly intelligent and could come up with these ideas themselves if they were given guidance on how.

Inefficient Healthcare Example

In Conclusion

Use the tools of The Toyota Production System for Healthcare Improvement and Performance Excellence. For instance, Toyota enlists everyone in their company to reach for system perfection. They get better performance year after year. Shouldn’t your Healthcare System accelerate to greatness year after year?

The Toyota Production System is a System just like Healthcare is a System.

The Healthcare System is comprised of Value Streams. The Toyota Production System is Toyota’s System. The Toyota Production System comprises every other system needed to make an automobile. That includes Toyota, customers, and suppliers. By including all these elements into their system it has created the greatest system in the world.

Toyota’s system will deliver Healthcare Improvement by integrating seamlessly with your suppliers. Toyota will even send its own employees to its suppliers in order to improve the integration. They use their relationship to minimize the cost of inventory. That is a benefit both for Toyota and for the suppliers.

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