Is Iowa the Hotbed of Lean

The Iowa Healthcare Collaborative and Iowa Lean Consortium will be the topic of conversation on the Business901 Podcast this week. My guest is Dean Bliss, a Lean Healthcare Coach for the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). He assists Healthcare organizations in learning and applying continuous improvement activities and philosophy. He is an original member of the IHC’s Lean workgroup, which has conducted statewide Lean Healthcare conferences and Lean learning opportunities since 2005.

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:  Control is probably a bad word, but a lot of the influences are from outside sources, doctors coming and going. Things are constantly evolving and control is constantly moving back and forth. It does seem a little complicated.

Dean:  It really is and trying to figure out how, if we make a change in this area how it affects that area. It’s complicated on an assembly line, but it’s even more complicated in a system like this because there are so many different dynamics, so there’s such a big web of things that go on, it’s like a spider web. You touch it on one side and it affects the other side, but you’re not sure exactly how until you get over there.Healthcare

As we look at Value Stream Mapping and look at mapping those things out and really understanding all the different wrinkles that take place just simply from a visit to the emergency room by a patient. How many different departments get involved in that visit? Even if they’re only there for an hour, there are six, eight, 10 different departments that are affected. How does all that fit together and then how do those departments that also serve other areas of the hospital, how is a change going to affect all that complexity goes on in there? And that’s really, to me, one of the biggest challenges.

The next one is really helping people see, I’ll tell you what, you will never see a better workaround person than a nurse. Nurses are tremendous workaround people. They do anything they can to take care of those patients, but the problem is that it’s a workaround. It’s not solving the problem, and helping them see that they’re not solving a problem five times a day, because if they were solving it five times a day, they’re not solving it. They’re just working around it. And helping them see that if we can eliminate that problem, “Oh, by the way, you’re going to get some more time in your day back. You’re not going to have to do that anymore.” So that’s another challenge, is really helping people see, again, seeing their work kind of a different way.

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