The Lean method from not “not running a hospital”
It’s a bit confusing. Paul Levy, who used to run Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, was well known for his blog “running a hospital.” Since he resigned from that position he’s been calling the same blog, with the same URL “not running a hospital.”
Levy obtained the URL to the address notrunningahospital.blogspot.com in case readers got confused, but now he’s using THAT address for another purpose- documenting Beth Israel Deaconess’s efforts to improve transparency and implement a program called the Lean process. Here’s what he says about the resource-
What you see documented on that blog is a consistent and decided institutional commitment to transformational change at BIDMC and several other places. It takes a long time and with constant reinforcement from the top folks to fight inertia and entropy and build sustained momentum for this kind of change. Personal involvement and interest of the CEO and clinical leaders is essential.
At first glance, it looks like 5S just means “get organized.” But it’s a little more involved than that. According to Lean Innovations, a group that implements Lean in the manufacturing industry, each S stands “for 5 Japanese words that constitute good housekeeping.”
Roughly translated they are-
- Sort (Seiri)
- Set in order (Seiton)
- Shine (Seiso)
- Standardize (Seiketsu)
- Sustain (Shitsuke)
My mom explains it this way- first you “sort” through everything you have, throwing out what you don’t need, then you organize or “set in order” the objects. My mother hasn’t talked as much about “shine,” but it seems it evolves cleaning the area.
When you “standardize” you decide what this work place should normally look like, and design ways to easily identify and fix the area if something’s awry. Picture those garages where people hang their tools on nails and then trace their outlines on the wall. You just have to see that blank space where the hammer should be to know it’s missing. The final S, “sustain” stands for being diligent about the other S steps. Keep up the vigilance around your “good housekeeping.”
Levy writes here about ways he implemented 5S at the hospital. Here are a few of his examples-
Of course 5S is just one aspect of the Lean method, and Levy can tell you more about it than I can, so check out his resources.
In the meantime, hospital folks out there- do you think this system might be useful for you? What do you know about the Lean method? Is it an effective set of concepts or the latest fad? Or both?