World Class Blog Post

Have you dreamed of eating the Grove Café’s world famous pancakes or been lucky enough to try them yourself?  What?  You never heard of them before now?  It almost sounds like a classic Onion article.

Many hospitals aspire to be “World Class” but there is no measure to know if they succeed at it.  Just like the pancakes, only that hospital seems to define themselves as achieving that level of success.  For that matter, I am not sure what would make them stand out with that definition since a Google search of “world class” and hospital returned 47,300,000 results.

Do patients choose a hospital based on a world class definition?  Similarly, do local “top doctor” magazines drive patients to hospitals or is the US NEWS” Top Hospitals” issue a key deciding factor (despite its questionable criteria)?

I would worry about achieving the level of “World Class” (whatever that actually means) since being at the top of  a benchmark usually does not inspire people to improve once attained. 

I think a better mission for hospitals is to strive for “perfect care”.  Patients deserve predictable clinical outcomes and they shouldn’t get harmed or sicker by being in a hospital.  Patients want better customer service and should not have to experience any unnecessary waits.  Lastly, healthcare should have a fair and reasonable price for their co-pay and insurance.

Hospitals need to ask their patients if they want to be treated at someplace famous or where they will receive perfect care.  If forced to choose one over the other, which would they pick?  Focusing on the means (providing perfect care) will help hospitals achieve outcome of being deemed world class.

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Filed under Consulting, customers, Data & Charts, Gemba, Hansei, Health Care, Improve With Lean, Improvements, Kanban, Lean Hospital, Lean Hospitals, Learn Leadership, Learning Organization, Problem Solving, Quality, Respect For People

4 responses to “World Class Blog Post

  1. Great post. “World class” is generally an empty, meaningless phrase, either in healthcare or manufacturing. What does it mean? Great question.

  2. Hi Brian,

    The term “World Class,” has always made me wince. I have never seen any criteria for the term and I believe that when folks use the term, there is a good chance that they’re applying some sort of fuzzy criteria.

    The category of best in class tends to be much more measurable.

    Thanks for a best in class post!

  3. Brian, great post! You are correct the term “world class” is over used and without meaning. The term “world class” without supporting data and meaningful benchmarks is meaningless.

  4. Jason Morin

    I think you’re over-analyzing a generic term (which from my vantage point, Lean practicioners seem to do) that in at least my industry (not healthcare), is used more as a term by the sales team than anything else. Right or wrong, it certainly sounds nice in a proposal to a client when you talk about “world-class.”

    That said, I certainly agree that if the term “world-class” creeps into an organization’s mission statement or perhaps a CI workshop, then it should absolutely be backed up with supporting detail on what exactly defines “world-class”.

    In my industry most long-time practicioners recognize “world-class” when they see it but there is no formal definition. When I present to a client in a consulting role, I will sometimes define the attributes of a “world-class” operation.

    Maybe you should start the process of defining world-class for hospitals (maybe by department) and get it endorsed by industry organizations and fellow Lean healthcare experts.

    The suggestions below are completey fictitious but you get the point:

    1. ER wait time (defined as X) averages 10 min. during a year for world-class medical facilities.

    2. Infection rates (defined as Y) for medical facilities never exceeds 1 per 10,000 hospital visits during the course of a year.

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