"Eliminating waiting rooms? Medical Assistants that act as project managers for physicians? The Toyota method reaches healthcare for increasing efficiency and reducing cost."
New healthcare efficiencies were featured in a special report on PBS this week. Cleveland Clinic is shown eliminating waiting rooms.
Virgina Mason is featured highligting the "flow director" status of medical assistants. A crisis drove change at Virgina Mason, which brings up the idea of danger: crises + opportunity. How they fared:
For... routine or uncomplicated back pain, Mecklenburg offered a surprising conclusion...“most of our care process was no help at all.”
A crisis drove an innovative breakthrough at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Robert Mecklenburg, MD, was chief of medicine at the hospital in 2004 when the insurance company Aetna threatened to exclude Mecklenburg’s healthcare organization from an elite network.
Aetna was in a powerful position as a purchaser of care for such major companies in the Greater Seattle area as Starbucks, Costco, and Alaska Airlines, among others.
- At Virginia Mason, the patient was at the top of the pyramid that embodied...its vision to transform health care. But ...employers paid the bills. ...Mecklenburg realized that neither he nor his physician colleagues had ever really considered the companies paying the bills as customers.
Mecklenburg invited Starbucks and Aetna to join with Virginia Mason in forming a marketplace collaborative to identify and solve the quality and costs issues around the treatment of routine or uncomplicated back pain.
Mecklenburg found that money and time were being wasted on expensive visits with primary care physicians and specialists that added little relief to the patients’ conditions.
Mecklenburg found money and time were being wasted on expensive visits with ...physicians and specialists that added little relief to the patients’ conditions.
Mecklenburg offered a surprising conclusion...“The value stream showed that most of our care process was no help at all.”
A Virginia Mason marketplace collaborative delivered the following benefits.
- Increased patient capacity. By reducing the number of patients who obtained procedures and tests unnecessarily
- Improved treatment pathways for other health conditions including migraine headaches; breast nodules; shoulder, knee, and hip pain; acid reflux; and cardiac disease.
- Evidence-based scheduling of expensive imaging tests. Using a Toyota principle called “mistake proofing” patients check boxes on a questionnaire to determine their need for MRIs and other imaging tests.
Photo credit: frances1972 (Waiting Room) on Flickr.com
Excerpt is from Pursuing the Triple Aim: Seven Innovators Show the Way to Better Care, Better Health and Lower Costs by Maureen Bisognano and Charles Kenney. Copyright (c) 2012 by John Wiley & Sons Inc.