W.E. Deming and Taichi Ohno: What do their Followers have in Common?

My colleague Richard Scoville and I have a new Institute for Healthcare Improvement Whitepaper,  “Comparing Lean and Quality Improvement. ”  You can get a pdf from the IHI website here

Here’s what we say in the Executive Summary:

“In the past 25 years, improvement in health care has grown from demonstration projects into a worldwide movement. Dominant in this movement has been an improvement approach grounded in the work of Walter Shewhart, W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, and Associates in Process Improvement, and shaped in practice by the staff and faculty of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Today, this “IHI approach” to quality improvement (referred to as “IHI-QI” throughout this paper) provides a framework for thousands of improvement practitioners around the globe. Meanwhile, many people in health care have heard about Lean and the Toyota Production System (TPS) as a powerful method for improvement and cost reduction in manufacturing, and about its notably successful application in health care by influential organizations such as Virginia Mason Medical Center and ThedaCare.”

“People often want to know about the relationship between IHI-QI and Lean, and how they can best utilize one or both approaches to improve their own care systems. This white paper aims to address these issues, and argues that because IHI-QI and Lean are complementary ways of approaching improvement, it is not necessary to choose one over the other as a guide to action.”

(Richard created the picture of Taichi Ohno and W.E. Deming with the tin can telephone connection—we hope our presentation has much more signal than noise and we welcome your reactions.)

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