Lean from scratch: A first hand perspective

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Tools and Techniques

Doug Thomson
Lean Facilitator
CarePartners Health Services

Susan Sparboe-Derry
Management Engineer
CarePartners Health Services

Lean offers health care organizations a proven approach for eliminating waste, improving customer satisfaction, and lowering cost. This presentation will describe one organization's approach to bringing lean thinking and rapid change to its culture. Real world examples and lessons learned from successful lean transformations using kaizen will be shared.

In late 2005, CarePartners Health Services made a decision to embark on a journey to become a lean organization. This presentation shares the steps of CarePartners' lean transformation, beginning with a very basic understanding of lean and culminating with a team of trained kaizen facilitators and a successful patient access kaizen event in just over eight months.

To date, the implementation of lean and the resulting change in corporate thinking has been met with great success and has brought new challenges. This presentation will focus on the approach used to transform the organization from one where change was often painfully slow and did not address root cause, to one that is solidly on the path to becoming lean. Included in the presentation will be the documented results of the organization's first kaizen event. Lessons learned as well as unexpected consequences will also be shared.

Participants will leave with a clear understanding of the key components necessary for attaining buy-in and committed support from senior leadership, the approach used to bring lean knowledge to the organization, the plan for economically developing a team of trained kaizen facilitators, as well as the steps that lead to a successful first kaizen event.