Stop Admiring the Problem

Improvement Insights Blog

Stop Admiring the Problem

Are you admiring the problems in your company’s performance? Stop Admiring the Problem. Here’s how:

Download my free ebook Agile Process Innovation.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and “Agile Process Innovation.”

“I worked with a beverage company, and one of their teams had a room and they were all set up and they were all excited about what they were doing. When I got down to it, all they were doing each week was special cause intervention / correction. Right? It was just firefighting, right? Firefighting is not quality improvement, right? Stop admiring the problem! Figure out how to systematically reduce the problem so you get out of firefighting, right? Become Smokey the Bear. Get into fire prevention.

“In healthcare, Press Ganey keeps track of how long people actually spend in an emergency room. The last time I looked it was 4 hours; unchanged for a decade… unchanged for a decade. Stop admiring the problem!

“Back in 2004, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital won the Baldridge Award and they were turning discharged patients in 38 minutes, and admitted patients in 90 [minutes]. Not 4 hours: 90 [minutes] worst case. So this problem’s been solved, but maybe you just have to decide that that’s what you want to do. They actually had a guarantee you’d see a nurse in 15 [minutes] and a doctor in 30 [minutes] or your visit was free. Guess what happened? They didn’t lose much money. Right? This is not an event.

“Then there was another study in In Minnesota where they were studying Adverse Events in hospitals (this could be all kinds of things that go wrong), but Adverse Events [remained] unchanged for a decade. Stop admiring the problem! Get on it.

“Let’s figure out how to mistake-proof these things, collapse the cycle time to nanoseconds. Speed is the healing app, and when you’re faster, you have less chance to make mistakes, so it’s also a defect prevention game.

“Stop admiring the problem! Let’s get out there, right? Let’s create a hassle-free America; hassle-free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week… and stop admiring the problem.”