Thursday, February 2, 2012

From manufacturing to healthcare..

Soon, I will be transitioning from manufacturing to healthcare. I've been interested in healthcare for a while due to its growth and improvement potential. All of us are patients at some point in our lives (may be multiple times) and we all look for an excellent patient care in hospitals, clinics, doctor's office, etc. Whenever I visit a healthcare provider, my eyes notice the areas of improvement and I sometimes suggest some ideas to the personnel. Do you do the same too? There is definitely a competition between hospitals and they all want to be the best healthcare provider. In order to achieve this and stay that way, strong emphasis on continuous improvement is put in place across all levels of the organizations. The environment is much different than in manufacturing, but regardless of where it is, a process is a process and it can be improved. Improvement tools developed for manufacturing are now widely utilized in other industries. The challenge is to find the right tools for the right application. I usually favor an integrated approach where different methods and analysis tools are available and applied interchangeably depending on the situation. Whatever works mentality. However, at a higher level, it is a must to have a defined strategy and structure to the continuous improvement approach. I'm looking forward to the new chapter in my career and continue to "lead the change" for the better.


  1. Good luck on your transition.

    I think the challenge is the culture in healthcare, not finding the right tools.

    Hospitals might SAY they want to be the leading pre-eminent provider, but what steps are they taking to really meet that goal?

    "In order to achieve this and stay that way, strong emphasis on continuous improvement is put in place across all levels of the organizations."

    That should be true, but it's sadly not true often enough.

    This story has some interesting background (and I can't recommend the work of Gawande and Pronovost strongly enough).

  2. Thank you Mark! As you mentioned, the biggest challenge is cultural change which is true in many industries. It doesn't happen overnight instead it takes a long time depending on the commitment from the top. I witness it everyday in manufacturing. Good news is that there has been several success stories in recent years where well-known hospitals began to embrace continuous improvement culture. It took manufacturing years to get there so hospitals have a chance to eventually get there too. They need to do more, learn more and commit more. Thanks for the article. It will be an interesting journey and I will definitely keep everyone posted on this blog!

  3. Mark, I just purchased your book "Lean Hospitals". Looking forward to reading it soon.