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plug imageThis is my second attempt at this newsletter. The first was about this plug, attached to an extension lead.

Two days in a row the plug and lead were brought for use at a workshop I was running for an organisation at their premises. On day one the plug could not be pushed into the socket. “So why bring it back on day two?” I wondered in frustration. “Can’t you see abnormal from normal?” (Seeing normal from abnormal in the workplace is one of the core aspects of the lean management system we stress in our work.)

Well, I decided that was the grumpy old man talking. Instead of dwelling on the point where the obstacle has yet to be overcome, I decided to show you the result of identifying the abnormal, and bringing about change. This table shows the percentage reductions in waiting times, according to ‘model line’ areas, at Gauteng public hospitals we’ve worked with:

tableThese are the sorts of transformations that make the work that LIA does so important, and my job a pleasure. By agreement with the Gauteng Department of Health, the focus was on the outpatient journey. These improvements in that journey were achieved in the number of months shown, and were recorded at the end of June this year.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of all involved: Rose, Tshepo, Mmathapelo and Oki (the front-line facilitators), and the 22 other members of the ‘Cohort 1’ that first met on 10th of November last year. The design we are using works with a cohort of people primarily drawn from the four hospitals, with a few non-hospital (e.g. Provincial or District) staff who will support the hospitals. And more, I am so impressed with and proud of the front-line clerks, nurses, pharmacists and courtesy officers at the four hospitals who have made this progress and continue at it! They have shown us once again that no matter the situation, there is space for learning and improvement.

Grumpy old man aside, given the opportunity, the plug and extension lead owners can become just as heroic: plug and play!

Kind regards


P.S. Next month our Lean Healthcare Summit takes place in Johannesburg. If you are a senior or middle manager committed to providing high-quality healthcare and operating your services with increased efficiency, you’ll want to register for the Summit here. Dr. John Toussaint, one of the foremost figures in the adoption of lean principles in healthcare will be delivering the keynote address. You can read more about the Summit here.

And, remember we have just a few more lean workshops scheduled in 2015.