Healthcare organizations are under incredible pressure to improve quality and reduce costs. Kaizen, as a methodology, gives us a way to engage front-line staff and leaders so they are more fulfilled through the improvement of their work, providing the best possible patient care.
“Kaizen,” the Japanese word for "improvement", or "change for the better" refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management. It has been applied in a broad range of industries. By improving standardized activities and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste. Kaizen was first implemented in several Japanese businesses after the Second World War, influenced in part by American business and quality management teachers who visited the country. It has since spread throughout the world and is now being implemented in many other venues besides just business and productivity.
In their new book, Mark Graban and Joseph Swartz propose the implementation of Kaizen in Healthcare. Through the empowerment of employees to reduce waste and improve safety, they feel that leaders in healthcare can effectively and efficiently deliver quality and safety with improved outcomes. They propose these methods as a way of changing our healthcare system for the better.
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