Sunday, December 28, 2008


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.


Anonymous said...

TPS is already being introduced to hospitals in Singapore and hopefully will spread in the future.

aliendoc said...

Oh really?! How receptive have the health care workers been?