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Translating improvement methodology into healthcare culture

James Simon (Alberta Health Services, Cardiac Sciences, Edmonton, Canada)
Mishaela Houle (Alberta Health Services, Cardiac Sciences, Edmonton, Canada)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to discuss improvement of the business of health care delivery through the application of systematic problem solving. This was strengthened by recurrence prevention through standardization at every level transforming into culture.


The methodology utilized is set derived from the true fiber and fabric of Toyota, the Toyota Business Practice (TBP) or eight-step problem solving and its translation into health care thinking by aligning to the process of clinical diagnosis of patients. The methodology that gives energy and direction to TBP is Hoshin Kanri, a Japanese approach to strategic planning. When you combine focus and purpose through strategic direction alongside a culture of systematic problem solving you get results.


The application of the Toyota mindset resulted in a cultural shift which built on the strength of the current organizational culture. This approach had a broad impact on the program impacting leadership and management roles, improved employee engagement, complete visibility of organizational priorities, improved system performance, visibility and awareness of the vision and defined measures that drive the health care system. This has also resulted in cost diversions of approximately five million dollars CDN.


A grass roots application of real-time problem solving through strategic alignment.



Without the vision of Cathy Osborne Senior Operating Officer, University of Alberta Hospital, Kaye Edmonton Clinic, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, Dr Dylan Taylor Facility Medical Director and Dr David Johnstone former Zone Clinical Department Head this approach would not have moved forward. Also too Ken Kreafle Toyota Motor Engineering Manufacturing North America, Inc. Executive in Residence Lean Program General Manager for his mentorship, Pete Gritton former Vice President of HR, TEMA,TMMK for guidance and the team at the University of Kentucky, Lean Systems Program, specifically Abbot Maginnis PhD, for his support. Lastly to the Cardiac Sciences, Edmonton Zone, the ones bringing the theory to life.


Simon, J. and Houle, M. (2017), "Translating improvement methodology into healthcare culture", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 769-778.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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