“Lean” Finds it Way Into CME Offices

February 1, 2011 at 2:37 am Leave a comment

Have you heard of “Lean Manufacturing”? How about “Lean Healthcare”? If not you may want to take some time to learn a bit about it. “Lean” is finding its way into hospitals and health systems around the country. In its simplest terms “lean” looks for ways to reduce “waste” defined as things in work processes that add no “value” to the product being produced for the customer. The “Lean” process looks for ways to eliminate “non-value added” tasks in the workplace. Things like unnecessary steps in a process that we do because we inherited it or we have always done it that way. Things like “work arounds” we put in place so we don’t have to confront problem employees or systems in our parent organizations. “Lean” practitioners eliminate non-added value work. The ultimate goal of “Lean” is to reduce costs and improve the quality of our products from the customers perspective.

“Lean” practitioners use things like the seven basic tools of quality and other tools developed to look at how work is done and how to streamline that work. A framework many “Lean” practitioners use to approach the improvement process is A3 Problem Solving – a process I have mentioned numerous times in this Blog.

I attended a session at the recent annual meeting of the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education where a CME office reported on their experience following the adoption of “Lean” processes and specifically A3 problem solving. The results reported were very impressive. Processes were refined, customer values were addressed, and staff capabilities were enhanced. The CME group is the Lehigh Valley Health Network under the leadership of Jane Grube.

I have been calling for a systematic, sustainable, repeatable approach to developing CME activities including PI CME activities. The A3 approach adapted from “Lean Manufacturing” is such a system. The A3 approach is also a systematic, sustainable, repeatable approach to improving our CME operations. Look at “Lean” and especially A3 Problem Solving to see if you can adapt it in your CME operations and use it as a guide to developing your CME learning activities. You might want to give this some consideration.

Linking CME and Improvement – The New Normal


Entry filed under: CME Issues, Continuing Medical Education, Improvement, PI CME. Tags: , , , , , , .

Improvement Resources for the CME Professional Response to a Repsonse

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