Content By Dean Bliss

By: Dean Bliss


ealth care reform, insurance changes, more insured patients, never events, changing reimbursements, accountable care organizations, medical home—what does it all mean? How do we react? How do we keep up with all the changes? The questions are many, and the answers are few, so what do we do?

The listed above is just a glimpse of the changing environment of health care. Much of it is coming from legislation over which we have little control. The easy thing to do would be to play the victim, but the results may be undesirable—cost woes, access reduction, financial loss. The smart thing may be to approach the changes head on. A reasonable objective is for organizations to address what they can control and get better every day.

That’s where lean comes in. Most health care stakeholders know that the lean philosophy, tools, and techniques originated from the Toyota Production System, which is in the business of making cars, not treating patients. But the concepts and techniques can navigate to any type of business, including health care, as the examples from ThedaCare, Virginia Mason, and others have shown.