The notion that healthcare organizations can comply with value-based purchasing initiatives, improve clinical quality, eliminate medical errors, and achieve it all at far less cost than ever before -- given the complexity and interconnectedness of medicine -- seems impossible. Yet it must happen. If hospitals and healthcare systems are to survive, their leaders have no other choice but to ensure it does happen. Furthermore, if you are to maintain or increase net margins in the midst of decreasing revenue streams, you must develop solutions to improve access, clinical outcomes, and patient perceptions of care and to reduce costs at the same time. When you speak of eliminating waste in processes, Lean is among the first approaches to be considered. The cornerstone of the Lean philosophy is its goal of zero defects. As both Toussaint and Kaplan show, adopting the fundamentals of Lean can yield significantly improved results.
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