Faster, Better, Cheaper Healthcare
in Five Days

No matter how you feel about it, with the passage of healthcare reform in Washington comes an even bigger question: Can we pay for it? To help out the American tax payers, healthcare will have to figure out how to dramatically cut costs to meet their part of the bargain. 

Out of the $2 Trillion spent on healthcare, $700 Billion is spent correcting preventable mistakes and errors according to Robert Kelley, VP of Healthcare Analytics at Thompson Reuters. There's an estimated $250 Billion spent on unnecessary procedures. In other words, there's almost a trillion dollars in savings waiting to be discovered. With that much money, we could more easily afford universal healthcare. 

The 1999 report, To Err is Human, found that one patient out of every 100 that checked into a hospital would die due to a medical mistake. Although the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has taken steps toward improvement, a 2009 Joint Commission Journal article reported that we don't know if that number has improved because we haven't been tracking it. 

Enough already! I'm tired of excuses. There's a handful of hospitals that have taken the lead on redesigning healthcare, but it's taken Virginia Mason, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, VA and others almost a decade. We no longer have the time. 

Lean Six Sigma Doesn't Have to Take Forever 

Having worked on many projects in hospitals and healthcare, I can tell you that it's not that the clinicians don't want better patient outcomes. It's just that they think it will take too long and cost too much and, let's face it, nobody wants to give up "the way we've always done it." Unlearning old, slow, error-prone methods is painful, but not impossible. There's an old saying: "Science advances death by death." I don't think we can wait for the old guard to die out for healthcare to improve. 

It is possible to make breakthrough improvements in speed, quality and cost in five days or less if you get the right people in a room focused on the right outcome. I've done it over and over again. 


What we need is faster, better, cheaper healthcare which everyone in healthcare seems to think is virtually impossible because we're working as fast as we can. Fortunately, we don't need faster, better or cheaper clinicians; the solution lies elsewhere. 

I've writtena series of white papers on this subject: 

Please download them and forward to anyone who might be open to transforming our sluggish healthcare system into a faster, more affordable one. 

Have them go to to signup for our Lean Six Sigma email lessons.

Take my Free Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training at

© 2008 Jay Arthur, the KnowWare® Man, works with managers who want to plug the leaks in their cash flow.

Rights to reprint this article in company periodicals is freely given with the inclusion of the following tag line: "© 2008 Jay Arthur, the KnowWare® Man, (888) 468-1537,"

Free Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt TrainingTake our FREE Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training online.