Ownership To ‘Own’ a process means to understand its concepts well enough, and to have the latitude to improve it through adjusting its parameters and learning through feedback.
The most difficult goal for a leader is to create an environment in which the operators (people doing the actual work) can learn these concepts, improve their own special skills, share status information, and visually see how to integrate that knowledge to improve processes and teamwork within and between groups.
In healthcare, it’s an iterative process that requires years of clinical risk and knowledge capital along with basic industrial engineering concepts (database design and evaluation, graph design and analysis, Lean, TQM, capacity utilization optimization, Constraint Theory, tactical and strategic scheduling), situation awareness, and the appropriate accounting and finance concepts (throughput, marginal costs, step costs, financial risk analysis, etc.) to make it sustainable.
Designing and tailoring a structure that permits the different departments to ‘own’ their processes while integrating with the rest of the enterprise is possible, although existing culture, policy, incentive or ignorance may be formidable barriers.
Social Engineering The competitive advantage of ‘ownership’ can be significant. Unfortunately, what many operators intuitively know is inhibited by non-appropriate accounting systems and poorly designed decision support systems (often due to non-ideal choice of data collection or poor presentation) that both mislead higher management and fail to give the operators and their immediate supervisors actionable information in a form they can readily use. The resulting integration and coordination of activities within and between areas is often misaligned or non-existent.
Transparency Internal transparency (reliable information availability) is necessary to be competitive in a world of external transparency. A deep, integrated understanding of accounting models, finance, clinical processes and collaboration is necessary for that internal transparency to work.
The articles on this website come from an anesthesiologist who acquired an MBA in risk management, finance, and data at the beginning of his career, and has practiced and implemented TOC since 1989 in multiple hospitals and countries since then. These are the nuts, bolts, and concepts that actually work – some are taught in business school and to industrial engineers, some should be. They help you safely control operations and work flow while recognizing profit and cost shifting to all parties – from small decisions by a single operator up to personnel, policy, capital investment and utilization choices made by administration, the CEO, and board of directors.
All simulations and most graphs are done with proprietary scheduling software that can be used in real time for simulation – it is strategy based, adaptable and leverages local data and knowledge with non-local concepts and experience. Other scheduling software is available and adaptable to permit local control, yet integration among nodes (hubs or departments) with adjustable degrees of activity, assignment-permissions and visibility … independent teams working together.