Solution to hospital problem 0
Sudbury's Health Science North ( "HSN"), like many other hospitals in Canada, is in crisis. Recent Emergency room wait times are 19 hours long, 4th worse in Ontario. As a tertiary health centre, the people of Manitoulin depend on this regional hospital to support our local hospitals and staff.
The HSN staff is frustrated. The patients are abandoned in hallways. The government (ie. the taxpayers) gets stuck with the ever-rising bill, already more than 40% of this Province's bankrupt budget and soaring debt. How much longer will we continue playing this insane game that destroys everyone?
Over 60 years ago, the Japanese auto makers learned lessons from Henry Ford, then used those lessons to beat their US teachers, the powerful US automakers. The weapon the Japanese used was TPS (Toyota Production System). Two decades ago, this TPS system was transformed into a universal, rapid improvement method, made available to all, and renamed Lean Thinking ("LT").
Thousands of organizations around the world have successfully used LT to get better outcomes (ie. fewer mistakes), faster response (ie. cut queues in half ), lower costs (ie. cut costs immediately by 30%, then an additional 10%/yr of cuts for more than 20 years), and better satisfaction for both customers and staff (ie. less frustration). Yes, even hospitals have successfully implemented Lean Thinking.
Lean Thinking is a lifetime commitment, often more than 2 decades to fully implement. For a faster fix, we have TOC ("Theory of Constraints"). TOC gets you about 80% of the benefits from Lean Thinking, but can be implemented in 3 months to 5 years. Even faster, we can get a 10% to 600% improvement by implementing ISO 9001 (Quality Management) in 1 year or less.
Has Health Sciences North heard about these opportunities? Maybe that's why they are in the current crisis. I wonder why they are ignorant, or decided not to implement? Has the North East LHIN's heard about these techniques? Isn't that supposed to be the LHIN's job, to help hospitals change for the better?
Why don't more organizations do Lean Thinking or TOC or ISO? Lean Thinking, TOC, and ISO are hard work. They take continual practice. It's like deciding to win the Gold Medal at the Olympics, it's easy to decide to go after, but takes supreme effort to achieve. Why bother doing that level of effort if you don't have to? Only 538 Canadians out of a country of 37 million volunteered and worked hard enough to go to the last summer and winter Olympic games, and only a handful of these Canadians got medals. Is it easier to understand why the clanking, inefficient, fossilized bureaucracy of the Ontario medical system beats down most individuals who might dare making dramatic improvements? In spite of this, some individuals in the fossilized hospital bureaucracy have achieved greatness. Thank-you to all of them for never giving up.
While our hospitals have some champions who achieve greatness, many others cared, tried to help, but eventually gave up long ago. Today, they go through the motions, trying to personally survive and keep their sanity for another day in their bureaucratic dungeon called a hospital.
Unfortunately, there are far too many hospital staff and other coat-tail riders who have too much to gain by continuing to milk their sacred cow in this defunct medical system. These are the ones who prevent change, so that they can continue to take unfair advantage of the public purse, in spite of the consequences for the innocent public. Shame on all of these parasites.
Glenn Black P. Eng. CQE CQA