The Truven Health Blog

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Lean: Empowering Employees, Eliminating Waste

Monday, November 30, 2015

Patty Gabow, MD, had first-hand experience implementing Lean at a hospital as the CEO of Denver Health. In an HFMA article, she says one of her biggest take-aways is that you have to set an audacious, inspiring goal for Lean transformation  at Denver Health, it was to become a model for the nation. Mortality rate was a key metric for Denver Health, and while doing Lean their observed mortality rate was below the expected mortality rate for the kinds of patients they saw.

According to Dr. Gabow, "the core philosophy of Lean is that transformation is built on two pillars: respect for people and continuous improvement." Lean works to remove waste as viewed from the customer perspective, and does this with respect for the customer and for employees. "Many people who work in health care today feel unempowered, and Lean is both empowering and democratizing: It relies on the people who actually do the work to solve the problem." The importance of Lean's respect for people  came home to Dr. Gabow when she realized that "Lean returns joy to the work, which is something a lot of people in health care don't feel anymore."

See more of Dr. Gabow's comments at