So what does the Toyota automotive manufacturing process have to do with health care?
A lot, apparently, according to the book, The Best Practice - How The New Quality Movement Is Transforming Medicine, by Charles Kenney.
The author relates the history of the Quality Movement in health care in the USA, in a story-telling narrative style that turns a book on a potentially dry topic, into a page turner. Mr Kenney uses real-life stories to reveal how the health care industry in the USA has slowly realized that quality improvement processes that have traditionally been used by the manufacturing & aviation industries can be applied to health care systems as well, to minimize "defects" (or "adverse events" in the medical world).
I think this book with the mouthful of a title is a must-read for medical professionals to serve as an eye-opener. Quality in Medicine certainly was something of a revelation for me when I worked for that brief period in health administration.
As medical students & then as clinicians, we were never exposed to the "outside world" as far as systems & processes were concerned. We were taught the way our predecessors were taught: mainly by the mentor-apprentice method, the student imitating the teacher, & oftentimes, picking up on bad habits, and operating within an environment of "blame & shame" so that errors remain hidden & buried under a culture of fear, and hence, hindering any possibility of correction.
This book tells of how a handful of people with radical ideas & persistence dared to challenge, & subsequently, changed & improved the quality of health care, starting with their own work environment.
I am inspired by their stories.
There is Hope yet.