August 28, 2016
I spend my days critically evaluating the health care delivery system trying to avoid harm and maximize the well being of patients. The tools I advocate using whether it be Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen or the model for improvement all teach the same thing. Strive to make today better than yesterday, safer, more efficient, with less waste. Be self critical. Identify errors, mistakes and oversights and use them as a beacon to study the status quo, change and improve it.
Process improvement is much more than a tool for industry or the work place but a system of analysis to enact beneficial change. Creating a culture of safety is not about just safety but taking pride in your work, striving to excel, being self critical and improving. Socrates said 2500 years ago that the unexamined life is not worth living. The process improvement mantra is to live everyday according to the rules we have created seeking to identify opportunities to improve and to be a little bit better tomorrow.
The challenge I suggest to all is to take the process improvement philosophy and apply it everywhere, to our role as parent, child, friend and neighbor. Use the tools to identify our own weaknesses and ameliorate them. Our human frailties are as amenable to the plan,do study, act cycle as the problem of increasing hand washing in the hospital. The system we seek to improve is the inherent weaknesses of our thought processes, complacency and behaviors which have been so clearly described by Kahneman, Watson and Skinner.
The culture of safety is just the start. We need a culture of continual process improvement: recognizing and striving for excellence , maximizing our potential, constantly being self critical and endlessly seeking to improve. We owe it to ourselves and future generations.
Health/Business Consultant/Educator, Patient Safety, Quality, Risk Management, Public Health Advocate, Witness Prep