Using Lean Thinking to Transform a Large Academic Medical Center

 

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar SeriesJohn E. Billi, MD

John E. Billi, MD
Professor of Internal Medicine and Medical Education and
Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, University of Michigan Medical School
Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Michigan

Date: December 12, 2011

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About the Presentation

Lean thinking is a business system that empowers frontline workers to find and fix the root causes of problems they face daily using the scientific method of problem solving. This philosophy has been applied successfully in many industries, ranging from manufacturing to service. In the past decade, many hospitals and other healthcare entities have begun to use lean thinking to improve operational performance.

Although some healthcare entities use only selected aspects of lean thinking for specific types of problems, many believe lean thinking works best when implemented as a holistic system. These organizations strive to use the principles of lean thinking as their overarching business strategy to achieve operational excellence—doing the right things and doing them the right way. This requires a management philosophy that cascades responsibility, in which workers and managers focus on value in the eyes of the customer and “pull” the authority they need to solve problems.

The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) has been on the lean journey for the past six years, creating the Michigan Quality System. UMHS has 20,000 faculty, staff, and trainees. The goal is to create 20,000 problem solvers who are finding and fixing root causes of problems they face daily. This webinar will describe UMHS’ initial approach, results of early experiments, what leaders learned, and how they adjusted. Discussion will include the transition from scattered projects led by coaches to an integrated approach that incorporates people development and process improvement.

About the Speaker:

Dr. John E. Billi serves as associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of Michigan Medical School and as associate vice president for medical affairs at the University of Michigan. He leads the Michigan Quality System, the University of Michigan Health System’s business strategy to transform clinical, academic, and administrative functions through development and deployment of a uniform quality improvement philosophy. He also practices as a general internist in a primary care clinic at the University of Michigan. Active in several initiatives affecting quality of care and practice issues, he chairs the Michigan State Medical Society’s Committee on Health Care Quality, Efficiency, and Economics and co-chairs the Michigan Quality Improvement Consortium Medical Director’s Committee, which endorses evidence-based practice guidelines across 16 health plans.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.