Friday, October 2, 2009

Lean is Contagious

When we started our Lean project in the laboratory, very few people knew much about Lean initiatives at our hospital. We have been whittling away at various issues and little by little, we are moving forward. Last week I shared a little of our success with our management team. I kept it simple, defined waste and value, and talked about how easy it can be to gain some wins. You see, like most hospitals right now, we are looking for ideas to reduce expenses, and we are starting to run out of ways to do this. I thought it was a good time to show them that there is more than one way to skin the cat of saving money.

After the meeting, the administrator of our 100 bed nursing home invited me to give the presentation to his staff. The next week, one of our nurse managers e-mailed me to say that she had purchased the book Lean Thinking (see reference listing below in my Lean Library)!

Today I stopped by the CEO's office for a moment and he mentioned that he was thinking of inviting a lean consultant to help us in the OR. We are having some scheduling problems because we have gained some surgeons at the hospital recently and the juggling of the OR rooms is getting to be a challenge. He thought maybe a Lean expert could help us.

Lean is contagious. I think it is because it takes the focus off of the dollars and places it back on the patient and solves two problems at once. In mathematical terms I would say, "cost reduction + process improvement = Lean".

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