A hearty congratulations to Mark Graban of the Lean Blog for
winning a Shingo Prize for his book Lean Hospitals – Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction! In the book Mark shows that applying lean to healthcare can reduce costs… a third alternative to the traditional "more cost or less care" debate.
Coincidentally an op-ed weighed in on this debate yesterday.
had the inadvertent good sense to create the "universal" health-care
program that the White House and Congress now want to inflict on the
entire country. It is proving to be instructive, as Mr. Romney's
foresight previews what President Obama, Max Baucus, Ted Kennedy and
Pete Stark are cooking up for everyone else.
In Massachusetts's latest crisis, Governor Deval Patrick and his
Democratic colleagues are starting to move down the path that
government health plans always follow when spending collides with
reality — i.e., price controls. As costs continue to rise, the
inevitable results are coverage restrictions and waiting periods. It
was only a matter of time.
The state's overall costs on health programs have increased by 42% (!) since 2006.
Yep, I'm really looking forward to that going nationwide. Here we have a Republican implementing a traditionally Democrat plan. Both screw it up, as usual. Pushing on the balloon always ends up doing something else… but in this case it affects real people.
thus putting themselves out of work — the only other choice is
limiting care via politics, much as Canada and most of Europe do today.
The Patrick panel is considering one option to "exclude coverage of
services of low priority/low value." Another would "limit coverage to
services that produce the highest value when considering both clinical
effectiveness and cost." (Guess who would determine what is high or low
value? Not patients or doctors.) Yet another is "a limitation on the
total amount of money available for health care services," i.e., an
overall spending cap.
But there is a third option, the option that Mark describes. Focus internally on the 70% or so of processes that are waste. Focus on patient outcomes, improving the process, employee satisfaction, and obviously the customer. Follow the lead of healthcare organizations like Thedacare that create radical improvement and stunning results… at a much lower cost.