Thursday, October 2, 2008

When Henry Ford Built a Hospital

Like many other residents I went for interviews at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. I have only two memories. One was the border agent giving me the third degree because I was coming over for an interview and the other is the residents telling me about gunfire in the city on Halloween night.

What was lost on me is that the hospital was built by Henry Ford with economy of motion in mind. I've reprinted Mr. Ford's own words here but I would encourage you to check out the Lean Blog for a detailed account;

"In the ordinary hospital the nurses must make many useless steps. More of their time is spent in walking than in caring for the patient. This hospital is designed to save steps. Each floor is complete in itself and just as in the factories we have tried to eliminate the necessity for waste motion so have we also tried to eliminate waste motion in the hospital."

The reason I started this blog was the presumption that if every clinic could save 2min per patient x 30 patients per day there would be a net increase in the capacity of our entire system of roughly 13%. More than enough to accommodate those without access to primary care*. The next time you are in an appointment and have to search for something give Mr. Ford a thought.

If you changed the system or supplied each room so that you didn't have to pause how much time could be saved during the course of a day?

*roughly 85-95% of the population currently has access to primary care in North America depending on the jurisdiction.


Ousizch said...
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everdream said...

Ian - would you mind listing some of the things you've done or seen done to make nursing units more lean? I'd love to see what others have done to spark an idea or two for my organization. Thanks!

Ian Furst said...
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Ian Furst said...

hey everdream - will do