How an Engineering Mindset in Healthcare could save 250,000 lives a year!

60 sec Teaser

Join our HealthcaREFORMED LinkedIn group aimed at changing the mindset of CEOs of Health Systems!

 

View this 11-minute video that reveals an under-recognized way to save thousands of lives in Healthcare Systems

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Please watch the video above first…then here is an excerpt from the HeathcaREFORMED 11 minute video with slides:

In 2016…

◦300 people died worldwide in commercial aviation incidents out of 3.5 Billion passengers that year.

◦Statistically, that means that you are far more likely to win the lottery than ever dying in a commercial aviation incident.

When an airline incident occurs, society demands to know the cause of failure. We do so to hold the airline industry accountable for preventing future accidents.

Due to this widespread accountability, the aviation industry strives for perfection and has an amazing safety record to show for it.

They focus on customer safety and purposely learn from failure to improve the processes designed for safe flight.

As a former Aerospace Process Engineer, I’m always surprised to hear travelers complain about their flight being delayed.

This is because of the in-depth knowledge I have. I know there are well designed processes with well thought out checks and balances in place to assure safe flight.

When a flight is delayed, there’s usually a very good reason. I am personally thankful that a part is being replaced or that my plane is grounded until the weather clears.

There are literally millions of Aviation processes in place to make sure that YOU – DO NOT BECOME – A STATISTIC.

 

Now, let’s compare Aviation to Healthcare.

In 2016, .Medical Error…

◦Is now the 3rd highest cause of death in the U.S. with over 250,000 preventable deaths annually

◦Is an under-recognized cause of death, meaning the impact is under-estimated.

 

The rate of loss of life due to Medical Error in the United States is equivalent to 3 commercial jetliners crashing with all lives lost … EVERY – SINGLE – DAY!

 

If you heard that on the news, how well would you tolerate it?

Yet, we rarely hear about death due to medical error in the news.

Perhaps it is time to hold the Healthcare Industry to account like we do the Aviation Industry.

So why is there is such a vast difference in performance between Healthcare and the Aviation Industry?

Healthcare is expertise-focused while the Aviation industry is customer-focused and process driven with an Engineering Mindset.

Process Engineering is at the core of this practice.

Process focused, by definition, is designing of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality by focusing on delivering better value to the customer.

Expert focused, is just that…it focuses primarily on the expert, not on the customer or processes.

Think  about it. Would you be comfortable if your pilot ignored his pre-fight checklist prior to takeoff? Since he has flown many times previously, would you be comfortable relying on his memory?Of course not.

We want the pilot to perform these checks and balances the same way, EVERYTIME. Therefore, as due process, he’s held accountable to many to complete this step. This is one of the critical processes designed for the Aviation industry to assure safe performance.

Conversely, we allow Doctors to diagnose and treat every day without the rigorous equivalent of the Aviation industry.

We as patients often trust our Doctor to consider everything about our health, history and lifestyle and we assume they will think to ask every question pertinent to treating us. After the diagnosis, there are typically limited checks and balances to validate a healthcare providers decisions.

As patients we are also guilty for not always holding doctors to account. We talk about getting second opinions, yet how many of us actually do?

  • We assume a Doctor’s expertise is enough.
  • Then why isn’t our pilot’s expertise enough?

Humans make mistakes. Preventing them is key.

It takes well designed processes to prevent failure and those processes must be focused on delivering value to the customer.

In Healthcare, everything revolves around a healthcare professional’s expertise and routine. It’s just how it’s been designed. It is far from being patient-focused or process driven.

After my Father died by medical error, I left the Aerospace industry and I went to work in Healthcare.

What I have observed, after 8 years in Healthcare is that doctors and other healthcare professionals are good intentioned and they are doing the best they can do. But without well-engineered processes driving accountability to support patients, they are working at a distinct disadvantage in saving lives. While working in Healthcare, I have had the opportunity to experience amazing breakthroughs in patient care.

Designing critical processes, focused on the patient’s well-being, has reduced emergency room wait time for a health system from 7.5 hours to 1.5 hours. I don’t think I need to point out the difference speed of care makes in an emergency situation.

Hospital acquired staph infections affect 1.7 million people in the U.S. annually, killing 99,000 of those people! 

At our facility, after focusing on Operating Room sterilization processes, we reduced post-surgery staph infections by 50%. If implemented nationwide this could save close to 50,000 lives!

In our own business, a lack of clearly defined processes will result in wasted time and money, and customer dissatisfaction – certainly a significant impact for most of us.

But in some industries, lack of well designed processes can have dire consequences.

Thankfully today, more and more healthcare organizations are beginning to discover that…

Experts are only perform as well as the processes they follow.

 

Or, as so aptly stated by W. Edwards Deming, the forefather of process engineering…

“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do and then do your best.”

 

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