Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting past "kacha zeh" at Hadassah

Jim Womack and I continued our Lean mission today at the main campus of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem.  We started with a gemba walk through the emergency department and then up to the internal medicine wards.  I had seen these areas a couple of days ago, but Jim has just arrived.  As always, he asked great questions and had thoughtful observations, particularly about the problem of patient boarding in the ED.

Later, we both participated in a hospital-wide session organized by CEO Ehud Kokia.  His purpose was to provide the staff with an overview of the purpose of the Lean journey and also to offer progress reports on some of the process improvement work that has been occurring to date.  Jim and I were then asked to provide our view of the Lean philosophy and its chance for success at Hadassah.  Jim was characteristically blunt, noting that he had reached a diagnosis -- a hospital characterized by a traditional management system -- a prescription -- a hospital in which both horizontal management and vertical management would exist to support cross-functional process improvement.  But he demurred on the prognosis, saying it was too soon to tell.  Quoting Henry Ford (an irony in light of that person's creation of the dehumanized assembly line model), he said, "It depends on you.  "Whether you think you can or you think you can't -- you're right.'"

My talk followed with some stories from our Lean experience at BIDMC, with (no surprise to this group of readers) analogies to soccer.  Picking up on Jim's conclusion, I suggested that a sign of success at Hadassah would be the elimination from conversations of two words that suggest defeatism and acceptance of the status quo, kacha zeh, "It is what it is."

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