How to Use the “Healthcare Kaizen” Books Together

Two great books that work great together

Both covers

In a nutshell:

The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is a 200-page overview targeted toward senior leaders and middle managers, focused on creating a sustaining a culture of continuous improvement.

Healthcare Kaizen is a longer, more-detailed book with 200 full-color illustrations (including Kaizen examples) and detailed how-to instructions for starting and managing a Kaizen program.

There is quite a bit of common content between the two books to ensure a consistent message to all audiences.

The details:

Joe Swartz and Mark Graban built upon their well-received (and Shingo Research Award-winning) book Healthcare Kaizen with a new special edition aimed at busy senior leaders: The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen: Leadership for a Continuously Learning and Improving Organization.

The full Healthcare Kaizen book is over 400 pages. Because of all of the full-color photos, the publisher used thick glossy paper.. which means the book weighs in at almost four pounds… the voice of the customer (or at least some customers) said that’s too heavy…

We’ve had readers, like an internal Lean consultant or process improvement director at a hospital, say that the book is great, but it’s too much (and, again, too heavy) to give to a CEO or senior leader to read on a flight.

Joe and I gave that a lot of thought and our publisher agreed with us that we could do a special edition (technically a new book) and keep Healthcare Kaizen on the market, of course.

Starting with that customer need, I benchmarked two popular healthcare books, namely Dr. John Toussaint’s two excellent books On the Mend and Potent Medicine. Those books are smaller and lighter (even as hardcover books). Based on the smaller page size and number of pages, we used that as the vision for The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen.

We worked backward to prioritize the content that would be most useful to time-crunched senior leaders. We included some material from Healthcare Kaizen, re-wrote some material to be aimed at senior leaders, AND wrote some new material especially for them, including Chapter 1 material on “why Kaizen?” and more about the ROI of a Kaizen program (which includes more than just financial results). We’ve also left out some of the “how to” detail while focusing more on the role of leaders in creating a culture of continuous improvement. The Executive Guide also has just a handful of real Kaizen examples, compared to over 100 in the larger book.

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We hope the difference between the two books is clear as this is something we want to be careful about in our marketing. We hope that The Executive Guide, being a less expensive book (currently $23 at Amazon) will help introduce new audiences to the power of the Kaizen improvement methodology. We can imagine a healthcare organization buying many copies of The Executive Guide and then having one (or a handful) of the larger Healthcare Kaizen book with all of its examples to be shared and passed around.

Hospitals and health systems are facing many challenges, including shrinking reimbursements and the need to improve patient safety and quality. A growing number of healthcare organizations are turning to the Lean management system as an alternative to traditional cost cutting and layoffs. “Kaizen,” which is translated from Japanese as “good change” or “change for the better,” is a core pillar of the Lean strategy for today’s best healthcare organizations. Kaizen is a powerful approach for creating a continuously learning and continuously improving organizations. A Kaizen culture leads to everyday actions that improve patient care and create better workplaces, while improving the organization’s long-term bottom line. The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is the perfect introduction to executives and leaders who want to create and support this culture of continuous improvement. The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is an introduction to kaizen principles and an overview of the leadership behaviors and mindsets required to create a kaizen culture or a culture of continuous improvement. The book is specifically written for busy C-level executives, vice presidents, directors, and managers who need to understand the power of this methodology. The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen shares real and practical examples and stories from leading healthcare organizations, including Franciscan St. Francis Health System, located in Indiana. Franciscan St. Francis’ employees and physicians have implemented and documented 4,000 Kaizen improvements each of the last three years, resulting in millions of dollars in hard savings and softer benefits for patients and staff. Chapters cover topics such as the need for Kaizen, different types of Kaizen (including Rapid Improvement Events and daily Kaizen), creating a Kaizen culture, practical methods for facilitating Kaizen improvements, the role of senior leaders and other leaders in Kaizen, and creating an organization-wide Kaizen program. The book contains a new introduction by Gary Kaplan, MD, CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, which was named “Hospital of the Decade” in 2012. The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is a companion book to the larger book Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements (published in 2012). Healthcare Kaizen is a longer, more complete "how to" guide that includes over 200 full color images, including over 100 real kaizen examples from various health systems around the world. Healthcare Kaizen was named a recipient of the prestigious Shingo Professional Publication and Research Award.