Now we have "lean manufacturing" from the manufacturing industry on which to improve healthcare:
Michael Roberto, an associate professor of management at Bryant University, says the trend will continue as hospitals face increasing pressure to control costs while improving patients' safety and satisfaction.Once again, "health-care providers" is a term confused with doctors. Sorry, this doctor does not agree.
Much of the demand for factory veterans stems from hospitals' embrace of lean manufacturing techniques. Pioneered by Toyota Motor Corp., lean manufacturing aims to cut waste and reduce defects by speeding up the production cycle, shrinking inventories and implementing just-in-time supply delivery. On hospital wards, lean tactics are used to reduce patient waiting times or prepare operating rooms faster. ThedaCare was among the first to adopt these techniques in 2002.
Ted Stiles, whose recruiting firm specializes in placing managers with backgrounds in lean manufacturing techniques, says demand among health-care providers is up tenfold this year from last year.
"Lean manufacturing" seems to me to be nothing but a euphemism for "lean staffing." Do more with less. Once again, it appears that hospital administrators would rather turn to non-medical auto-industry "efficiency" and "safety" experts, rather than asking health care professionals to recommend the best way to improve care. Instead, they turn to these "experts" to squeeze any amount of remaining professionalism from their medical staff in order to squeeze every health care dime out of the staff they have.
Why? Because nurses and doctors are "expensive" to hospitals.
But what, exactly, is the cost of these hired-gun administrators? Do we really need yet another company or administrator to tell us how to do our job? Is it all about safety and efficacy? Or might providing a better nurse-to-patient ratio be far better at improving care?
And regarding "patient satisfaction?" Ask any patient - is sitting in a dirty bed after soiling yourself and not being able to get a nurse to help you in a time of need what patients want because they've cut back on nursing staff to become more "efficient" and "safe" or "satisfying." Will these clib-board carrying types be on call at 3AM to help answer a call button?
Certainly it is important to provide a safe environment for our patients. No doctor or nurse would argue that fact. But using "safety" and "efficacy" and "patient satisfaction" as a ruse to provide less frontline care in the name of "improving efficiency" is not only potentially dangerous, but expensive too.
Addendum: NHS Blog Doctor adds his not-so-subtle pithy bit about this trend as well.