Hospitals are Providing the Only Leadership in Healthcare Reform

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , August 21, 2009

I talked to a COO and CFO at two health systems this week. One's in Texas, and the other is in Wisconsin. They're both big believers in Lean, a production practice that grew out of the manufacturing industry in which expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer is considered wasteful, and a target for elimination. Toyota's been using it for decades, and indeed, invented it. Other manufacturers adapted Lean to their organizations many years ago, to excellent effect. Now healthcare true believers are doing the same. God knows there's a lot of low-hanging fruit to be picked from the waste tree in healthcare. I'll tell you about some of them in next week's column.

Why are they doing it now? Well regardless of what happens with healthcare reform—and it looks like "nothing" is at least an even bet right now—hospital leaders know their long-term future is tied to efficiency and cost control.

So go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back.

Now, get back to work.

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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