Lean Healthcare Summit Presentation Abstracts

Plenary sessions:

Transforming healthcare delivery using lean principles

Presenter: Dr John Toussaint, Catalysis, USA

This presentation will provide the framework for successful lean healthcare transformation  with examples from around the world. Changing leadership behaviors is the hardest part. This starts with understanding the core principles upon which the lean method is based. Many people believe lean is simply a tool set. We know it takes more than tools to build a culture of continuous improvement. The presentation will cover behavior change but also the “secret sauce” of lean which is the management system required to sustain improvement.


Lean in light of the postmodern challenges of health care

Presenter: Dr Stefan Metzker, Spital Mannedorf Hospital, Switzerland

Postmodernism – the time we live in – is characterised by an accelerating pace of change, failing single-dimensional long-term strategies, and increasing pressure on any kind of margins, to mention just a few. It is essentially a reaction to the failure of rationalism and leads to a high level of uncertainty – a state many organisations find themselves in these days. Some have figured out that new ways of management and leadership are required to be able to adapt to these challenges. How can the Lean Toyota Production System help hospitals to adapt to these new challenges better and provide the best care for our patients? The presentation is about why a more system-orientated interpretation of Lean has become a logical answer to today’s challenges in healthcare and for hospitals in particular.

Lean at Hollard: The Journey Thus Far

Presenters: Francois de Jager, Malcolm Davidson and Gerda Lewis, Hollard Insurance

The team will be discussing lessons learnt in their Lean Transformation journey to date that may be applicable to the health care industry.  Some of the key themes will include: lessons learnt in getting started, coaching for problem-solving and implementing a full-blown lean management system.

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Health Systems Strengthening Through Culture Change: A Paradigm Shift

Presenters: Chipo Mupure and Richard Chivaka, Spark Health, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town

Based on our experience working in healthcare systems over the years, below are the key messages that we would like to communicate. Strengthening the healthcare system to produce measurable and sustainable results, requires:

  • Human asset development that shifts the emphasis from hard skills (technical) to the so-called soft skills (human). We now know that for governments to produce the desired and measurable healthcare results, the mind of the human in the system has to be transformed from the ‘victim of the poor health systems’ mentality, to a ‘steward and champion of the system’ thinking
  • A crop of healthcare leaders who understand and comprehend the reality that soft skills are difficult to develop and leverage to produce the desired health outcomes. Soft skills tend to be sticky and therefore much more onerous, compared to the hard skills.
  • A new way of thinking on healthcare service delivery that shifts mind-sets from deficit to asset-based thinking;
  • A recognition that healthcare professionals are the most important asset in the system, hence the need to focus on human asset development from the inside out!
  • The development of a culture for creative use of existing resources, given the resource-constrained Africa governments, so as to ensure strides made in combating key healthcare challenges, such as the HIV pandemic, are sustained.
  • The culture of ‘home-grown’ innovations, which are based on people’s way of life. Such innovations tend to survive the test of time because their DNA is not alien to the macro and micro environments that define and create the determinants of health.

Breakaway sessions:

Lean Leadership in Healthcare – Dr John Toussaint and Dr Stefan Metzker 
This breakaway session is aimed at senior management and lean leaders. It will be in the form of a discussion with these two lean healthcare leaders.

Our Province’s experience with lean management – Dr Heather Tuffin, Western Cape Health and Gauteng Health (facilitators to be confirmed)
Western Cape Health and Gauteng Health will share their lean journeys so far.

Reality Lean: watch this space – Western Cape Department of Health – Dr Heather Tuffin
Books we read about Lean are subject to “Survivor Bias”, where the book is written because that organisation has succeeded in their Lean transformation efforts (as opposed to those who don’t write about their complete failure to transform). Somewhere in chapter 7, one paragraph assures us that “the transformation was not without its problems and failures, so please don’t think this is straight or easy task, it took us [fill in the blanks] years to get to where we are”, or something along those lines, but we don’t get a sense of the blood, sweat and tears, the “recalculating” along the way.

As the newly formed Collaborative Healthcare Improvement office, we are at the beginning of our Lean journey. Rather than wait until years down the line to publish our success story (or not!), we want to let you in right from the start, to watch and learn with us as we go. We will share what we are doing, why we’ve chosen certain routes, the alternatives we’ve debated, all BEFORE we know how it turns out. In the true spirit of Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA), we’ve put our predictions out there, and would like to invite you to learn with us.

Introduction to Lean Thinking – Rose Heathcote
Curious about Lean Thinking? Wondering what it entails and how it can help you meet your goals for excellence in Healthcare? Join Rose Heathcote for an interactive Introduction to Lean Thinking where she will share with you the key principles in a practical setting. Following a quick simulation activity, you will learn the basic elements coupled with real-life Healthcare examples.