Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Lean but not mean in Jacksonville

I am in Jacksonville, FL to attend the Lean Enterprise Institute 2012 Transformation Summit, and so it was a logical time to go visit the "Leanest" dentist in the world, Dr. Sami Bahri.  I had heard him talk before and wrote about him here.  He will be presenting at the Summit, but I couldn't resist visiting his clinic and seeing things for myself.

It was even better than expected.  I'll provide just a few examples.

This is Candace, whose job title is "Patient Care Flow Manager."  I challenge you to think of another clinic with someone of this job description.  Dr. Bahri's clinic prides itself on minimizing the amount of time patients spend waiting -- whether for an appointment, sitting in the front area, sitting in the procedure chair, or whatever.  Candace is charged with being in constant motion throughout the clinic to look for opportunities to make that happen.  She comes up with some of the ideas herself, but she is also very attuned to suggestions made by any of the other workers in the clinic.

One source of care delay occurs if a hygienist or dentist reaches over for a given supply item, and it is missing; so on-site inventory control is an area of special concern.  Dr. Bahri invented this transparent storage rack so that items are easily seen, and if supplies are low, the clinician need merely pull out the plastic drawer and leave it on top of the cabinet.  These cabinets are lined up so they are clearly visible from many angles (providing what in Lean is called a "visual cue"), leading Candace or someone else to fill up the drawer and leave it facing back in the other direction.  These and other approaches allow the clinic to save thousands of dollars in excess inventory, while ensuring that supplies will be at the site of service when needed.

Beyond all this, it was apparent that this is a great place to work, with employees who know their opinions are respected and with bosses who know that their job is to be servant leaders.


Mark Graban said...

I'm glad you were able to visit Dr. Bahri's office. It's a very special place, as I saw when I was able to visit a few years back.

Enjoy the LEI summit. I hope to see you at the Healthcare summit in June.

dsblanchard said...

Dear Paul,

This post reminds me of the operation St Anthony's free medical clinic where I am a volunteer RN every Wednesday (that's today!). Sue Lingg is the supervisor on Wednesday. She roams around the clinic and keeps the flow moving, intercepts problems and just generally keeps us all "focused" on serving our patients and be kind to one another. Perhaps she would be considered a Patient Flow Specialist.

We also have a clear bins system of inventory. When something is running low we place the container on Sister Henry's desk. We never run out. I've been reading Not Running a Hospital for awhile and post many of your articles on my Facebook page, but not till today did I realize I worked for a Lean facility...leave it to the Catholic Church!

Dawn Blanchard, PhD, RN

tom emerick said...

There is a hidden and often overlooked bonus in implementing lean six sigma in an organization, namely the posiitve health effects it has on employees. By focusing on processes and not people, stress levels decrease followed by decreases in absenteeism and workers comp claims.