Returning Joy to Patient Care
Remember how you felt on your first day of medical school?

I remember feeling excited fortunate to embark on a journey into a profession in which I would make a difference in other people’s lives by helping them through some of their most challenging life events.

Through my training and decades of practicing family medicine, there were many times that I felt just that way, that I was making a real difference.

But there were also times that I felt overwhelmed, frustrated by the challenges of entering data into the EHR, angry at the latest requirement from insurers and regulators, and fatigued working hours after I got home at night making sure everything from the day was taken care of properly. Too often I could not fully focus on caring for my patients.

How do you feel now when you leave the hospital or clinic each day?

Do your scales tip more toward frustration and anger, or do you go home each evening calm and satisfied that you were able to make a difference?

By developing a Lean management system and culture, you can eliminate many of the barriers and frustrations to providing great patient care in a supportive environment.

You can Return Joy to your work and to your personal life. I encourage you to embrace this approach.

If you have questions about it, feel free to contact me. I am happy to help.
Are Patients First or Care Givers First? It Depends…

Are Patients First or Care Givers First? It Depends…

For the past decade at least, most health care organizations have had a Patients First initiative.  While it seems intuitively obvious that the customer of the health care organization should come first, this initiative, when pursued without a deep understanding of the care process, can result in unintended negative consequences that lead to burnout for physicians and… Continue Reading

The Power of the Leader as Storyteller

The Power of the Leader as Storyteller

Most of us don’t understand the power of our greatest natural talents.   Each of us has something that comes very easily to us, so it feels unremarkable, yet others are in awe of us because that talent is difficult for almost everyone else. Few people recognize this, and so our greatest talents often remain underutilized.… Continue Reading

The EHR – A Root Cause of Physician Burnout

The EHR – A Root Cause of Physician Burnout

The most important thing that we do in health care is the healing interaction that takes place between a caregiver and a patient. The opportunity to participate in that sacred relationship, and to be of service to others, is why most every doctor went into medicine. The EHR, as we currently use it, is breaking that relationship and damaging our ability to heal. Continue Reading

A3 Thinking – Lean is a Natural Fit for Physicians

A3 Thinking – Lean is a Natural Fit for Physicians

A3 thinking is a problem solving approach that is at the heart of Lean. The Simpler problem-solving A3 includes nine steps or “boxes”. As a physician, I like following the A3 process because it takes the same logical approach that physicians use to evaluate and treat patients. Both are deeply rooted in the scientific method. Continue Reading

A Father’s Day Message – Caring for Your People Like Family

A Father’s Day Message – Caring for Your People Like Family

“I found that parenting and leadership are identical. It is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you, whether through birth or through employment.”   This quote from Bob Chapman during a recent interview for his book, Everybody Matters, expresses one of the key principles of his leadership philosophy – his approach to the Lean principle of… Continue Reading

Reducing Physician Burnout without Reducing the Bottom Line

Reducing Physician Burnout without Reducing the Bottom Line

How can you reduce physician burnout in your workplace without hurting the bottom line? When most people think about burnout they think about its primary manifestation – exhaustion.  Burnout also manifests as cynicism, which damaging to the person and those around him/her, and as inefficacy, the sense that what you do doesn’t make a difference.… Continue Reading

Lean Leadership: It’s Lonely at the Bottom

Lean leadership is not for wimps. When you step forward, away from the pack, encouraging others to follow, you take a risk. First of all, there is the change thing. Change is hard. People don’t like to change. People only risk change when the pain of the current state is greater than the perceived pain… Continue Reading

Lean Leadership: It’s Lonely at the Bottom

Are You Driving a Ferrari or a Porsche?

I recently was asked to work with a health system that is struggling with physician engagement in their Lean program. Nothing new about that. Doctors are so busy trying to take care of higher volumes of increasingly complex patients that they can’t afford the time to fix the dysfunctional workflows that stand in the way… Continue Reading

Taylorism vs. Toyota – Managers with Stopwatches vs. Respect for People

In their recent Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Medical Taylorism”, Drs. Pamela Hartzband and Jerome Groopman make a fundamental attribution error. They equate Lean as practiced according to the principles of the Toyota Production System that empowers workers to solve problems, with the approach used by Frederick Taylor over 100… Continue Reading