Lean process methodologies were originally developed for manufacturing and industrial settings, so they may seem out of place in a hospital. But the principles behind lean processes are even more important in a clinical setting, where increased hospital efficiency can help manage risks and ultimately lead to better quality of patient care. Kaizen, which means “rapid improvement for the best” in Japanese, is one of these lean process methodologies. In an article for Beckers, Neonatology Chief Dr. Luiz Grajwer share his advice on how hospitals can use a Kaizen event and facilitator to address physicians’ hesitations.
“[Physicians] have our own language and our own way of communicating with each other, but we can be resistant to new terminology, which is why Kaizen presents a very real challenge to leverage in a hospital setting. Kaizen is rooted in the business world, which has its own lexicon and can seem like learning a different language.
However, once Kaizen is explained to physicians in terms they understand, these leaders can begin to see multiple solutions to the challenge at hand. Physicians who are familiar with the Kaizen event's goals can function as a bridge for all individuals involved in the process. In this way, he or she can create the environment that allows for visualization and analysis of the issues and support a culture that permits open communication, respect for all team members with the common goal of improvement, and value for all. This is why a Kaizen facilitator is another necessary member of any event. Interdepartmental communication is often a sticking point at many hospitals, but Kaizen integrates different sectors of the hospital, breaking down communication silos and setting aside traditional barriers that can prevent teams from finding ways to more effectively assist patients.”