Current Pulse: Can a Production System Reduce Medical Errors in Health Care?


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Abstract

One of the reasons for rising health care costs is medical errors, a majority of which result from faulty systems and processes. Health care in the past has used process-based initiatives such as Total Quality Management, Continuous Quality Improvement, and Six Sigma to reduce errors. These initiatives to redesign health care, reduce errors, and improve overall efficiency and customer satisfaction have had moderate success. Current trend is to apply the successful Toyota Production System (TPS) to health care since its organizing principles have led to tremendous improvement in productivity and quality for Toyota and other businesses that have adapted them. This article presents insights on the effectiveness of TPS principles in health care and the challenges that lie ahead in successfully integrating this approach with other quality initiatives.

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