Haleiwa HI medical center: Lean Manufacturing and The 200 Days

Last week I fell on a lava coral rock while enjoying the beauty of Haleiwa HI; my right shin was shredded so off to the local medical center I went.  I appreciate that they took me in (it was not an urgent care or emergency center), cleaned the wounds, and put in 12 stitches to reconnect the skin. (good insurance may have helped my case) 

It was interesting to watch the doctors and assistants look for basic supplies as I sat in the “minor surgery” room.  Couldn’t find the right size or right material “thread” for stitching; couldn’t find the right antiseptic; and on it went.  While the medical care I received seems good (will know more when stitches removed later this week), they could work much more effectively with simple visual systems to organize and re-order inventory.

They had a very nice sign on the wall of one of the rooms that said something to the effect: “there is no idle time; organize and clean for the 200 days that are crazy busy.” We discussed that, and they all understood and supported that message.  They simply have no training in how to organize effectively.  Cabinet were labeled with generic description of what was behind; syringe; suture; urology.  But behind those doors was a stacked conglomeration of materials.  Pull out a box, read it, put it back and pull out another.  The process was repeated until they found what they needed or gave up and said they were out. There was no “sharp medical products” disposal container in the surgical room, and a regular trash can was used for all wastes, bloody and otherwise.

A two hour training class summarizing 5S and Mistake Proofing concepts would save this group of hard working medical professionals (and their patients) a lot of time, and likely provide better quality care.

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