Saturday, November 6, 2010

John Seddon Admits He Has No Healthcare Experience

John Seddon likes to talk about how lean healthcare is a bad idea. How would he know?

He says the following in a Quality Digest comment:
I have no experience in health-care organisations...


  1. The brave anonymous.

    Many in Vanguard do have Health Care experience. What needs to be focused on is why we are using lean manufacturing tools in service.

  2. The reason healthcare needs lean tools is very simple. They work when management is involved and committed. But it starts with management.

    Forty to fifty percent of hospitals in America are losing money. They are operated so inefficiently they won't be able to survive much longer.

    Before 1995 they depended on never ending cost raising in non-price competitive markets. But that party came to an end. For the last 15 years they counted on their investment income and charitable donations to make up operating loses. That party has also come to an end.

    Without dramatic improvements in efficiency, productivity and effectiveness, at least 20% of American hospitals will disappear in over the next 10 years.

    I've been practicing system's engineering, innovation and process improvement for close to 40 years. I get all of it really well. I did them as a CEO and not as a consultant so I know where the rubber meets the road.

    A portion of what Vanguard sells is based on older organizational behavior theories involving worker empowerment. While it is possible to benefit from lower level improvements, it is too little too late.

    I don't dislike Prof Seddon. He's a typical professor. He's a typical consultant. He's set up himself up as a guru to sell services. As far as guru's go, I wouldn't give you spit for any of them.

    Instead of all the ideological warfare and work parsing, hospitals need to stop all the excuse making, union interference, physician resistance and other bullshit or the monetary bleeding is going to take them down. It's that simple. Call it systems engineering, call it lean, call it whatever the hell you want. If the waste isn't removed from healthcare and really soon, a lot of people are going to wind up on the short end. Government can't save us. Only we can save ourselves.

    Healthcare around the world kills hundreds of thousands of patients through the preservation of self interests on the part of nurses, doctors and even administrators. What a load of crap. People protest the IRAQ war and the 5000 soldiers that have died to-date, but who cares about the 200k to 300K people killed by bad medicine every year in the US?

    Wow, healthcare is one industry that truly needs "real" commitment to lean, not just to save money but to save lives. Tell Professor Seddon to curb his self interests and save a few lives instead of worrying about water department repairs in Scotland.