Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Zhejiang hospital adopts 'Toyota management' service techniques

Hospital says Toyota's 'continual improvement' techniques improve patient service

by Michael Woodhead

In China there is still reluctance by public hospitals to focus on awareness of services for patients and there is still a long way to go for hospitals in making care more patients centred.
 However, one hospital in Zhejiang province has been leading the way in reforming management practices. Over the last three years Dongyang City People's Hospital has been implementing 'Toyota Production System' management tools and guidance to staff to carry out continuous improvement in services.
Despite being quite a small hospital, Dongyang City People's Hospital in the central region of Zhejiang is well-known in throughout China because it is the first public hospital in the country to implement reforms of the corporate governance structure.
The hospital is the first to introduce a 'presidential responsibility system' under the leadership of the board of directors. The corporate governance structure reforms and refinement of management are distinctive features of Dongyang City People's Hospital, that have attracted many peers come to learn.
Recently, the construction of a new hospital building of 90,000 square meters in one fell swoop doubled the size of the hospital. This gave fresh impetus to the development of the hospital. However, rather than just improving the 'hardware', Dongyang City People's Hospital's effort is also invested in 'software' and the emphasis can not be underestimated. To enhance service awareness, Dongyang City People's Hospital  has in recent years used the Toyota Production System (also known as lean management) to imbue staff with service awareness.
Training consultant Zhai Sheng Biao is manager of the QS-FIRST Service Management Consulting Centre. He oversaw the dissemination of Toyota Production System to improve knowledge and enhance the quality of hospital services. He worked out personalised service improvement programs for each hospital, as well as the selection and training of several hospital services "internal trainers". These internal trainers aim to achieve universal service improvement through intense organisation.
For most Chinese public hospitals, the Toyota Production System is a fairly new and unfamiliar system.  Di Shengbiao's "Toyota philosophy" and methods attempt to bring practical lesson from industry to the practice of the Chinese hospital management and thus help the head of the hospital to create a  "Toyota hospital".
Dongyang City People's Hospital vice president Yong-Ming Zhao says the Toyota Production System has been popular and produced significant new changes.
The hospital's head of nursing says enthusiasm in participation has been high and the program has achieved wide uptake in the hospital. There have also been physician-led improvement projects focusing on topics closer to clinical practice; other projects have focused on the improvement of the healthcare safety and quality of medical care.
The new service quality program has been adopted by all levels of staff at Dongyang City People's Hospital, with even the cleaners having an 'aunty' leader whose initiative was to guide cleaners to becoming dedicated to hygienic toilets. Representatives from other hospitals  have been impressed by these developments, saying that in their hospitals cleaners would not take the initiative. "A sense of service is now deeply rooted in the general staff of the People's Hospital of Dongyang," one said.
Read more: China Healthcare

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