Press Release: “Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen”

Press Release | Download as PDF | View on


For more information, please contact:
Mark Graban
Tel: 817.372.5862

For editorial copies, please contact:
Chris Manion, Productivity Press

Healthcare Improvement Expert, Mark Graban, Releases New Book on the Leadership Required to Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement

The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen to Help Hospitals and Health Systems Face Increasingly Challenging Times


Executive-Guide-to-Healthcare-Kaizen-Cover-100SAN ANTONIO, Texas (August 27, 2013) – Lean healthcare expert, Mark Graban, announced today the new book, The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen: Leadership for a Continuously Learning and Improving Organization, co-authored with Joseph Swartz, will hit store shelves and be available online on August 27. The book is a new edition of Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements, released in 2012 and recently named a recipient of the prestigious Shingo Professional Publication and Research Award.

“Healthcare organizations are under incredible pressure to improve quality and reduce costs, trends that are only accelerating with the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Graban. “Kaizen, as a practical continuous improvement methodology, provides a way to engage front-line staff and leaders so they are more fulfilled through the improvement of their work, providing the best possible patient care and reducing costs. Hospitals and health systems face many challenges, so the only way to solve them is to get everybody engaged in improvement – today.”

Graban added, “It’s been very exciting, over the past year, to see more healthcare organizations embracing and implementing these powerful methods for increased staff and physician engagement.”

The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is a companion book to Healthcare Kaizen, a larger, 400-page book that includes over 100 full-color examples of Kaizen improvements and important “how-to” details for Kaizen practitioners. The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is designed to be an introduction for leaders that focuses on organizational culture and leadership. Read more about how these two books can be used together.

Over the past eight years, Graban has worked in dozens of healthcare facilities to help implement “lean management” and “lean healthcare” practices that are based on the famed Toyota Production System. Healthcare Kaizen focuses on the principles and methods of daily continuous improvement, or “Kaizen,” for healthcare professionals and organizations. Graban has also initiated or supported the use of Kaizen improvement methods in hospitals throughout North America and Europe, leading to higher staff engagement, better quality, and lower costs.

Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “change for the better,” popularized by Masaaki Imai in his 1986 book KAIZEN. In 1989, Dr. Donald M. Berwick, founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, endorsed the principles of Kaizen in the New England Journal of Medicine, describing it as “the continuous search for opportunities for all processes to get better.” In a report last year, the Institute of Medicine called for “continuously learning and continuously improving organizations” to help provide the best care at the lowest cost. The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen shows leaders how to make these goals a reality.

The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen shares some of the management methods and leadership behaviors practiced by leading hospitals, including Franciscan St. Francis Healthcare, where more than 15,000 documented improvements have been made over the last six years, saving more than $5 million, in addition to “soft” improvements in quality, patient safety, patient satisfaction, and staff engagement. The book covers and provides practical illustrations of the management mindsets and philosophies required to make Kaizen work effectively in a hospital department or as an organization-wide program.

The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen includes a new introduction written by Gary Kaplan, MD, the CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. Virginia Mason was named “Hospital of the Decade” by the Leapfrog Group in recognition of its results achieved through the use of Lean and Kaizen methods. Dr. Kaplan, again named to Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare List,” says, “The value of using Kaizen to improve health care systems is indisputable. At Virginia Mason, we have been using Kaizen, based on the Toyota Production System, for more than a decade. The Virginia Mason Production System, as we call it, has allowed us to deliver safer, better and more affordable care to our patients. One of the keys to successful implementation of Kaizen is the serious commitment of leaders – including the CEO, senior executives, physician leaders, and Boards of Directors.”

The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen will be helpful for organizations that have embraced weeklong improvement events, but now want to follow the lead of ThedaCare, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and others who have incorporated “daily continuous improvement” into a more complete management system based on “Lean” or the “Toyota Production System.”

Published by Productivity Press, The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is a 200-page paperback that retails for $29.95. Editorial copies are available upon request or consumer copies may be purchased by visiting

For more information, please visit

EARLY REVIEWS: “The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen provides examples of front line staff coming up with solutions to problems on their own and implementing them. Healthcare leaders need to read this book to understand that their management role must radically change to one of supporting daily kaizen if quality safety and cost are to improve in healthcare.” —John Toussaint, MD, CEO, ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value.


“Without exception, the leadership of the health system is the determinant of success or failure in Lean transformation. The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen is a focused and concise guide for that journey, a must read for those who have that responsibility.” – Dave Munch, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Healthcare Performance Partners

“At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, everybody improving every day is a critical aspect of our Lean and quality improvement efforts. Healthcare Kaizen, is full of relatable examples as well as practical ideas that will inspire staff, clinicians and leaders at all levels. It’s must-have supplement, as “The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen: Leadership for a Continuously Learning and Improving Organization”, clearly outlines the role of management in leading this important work. It is not enough to be supportive; rather, one must demonstrate genuine interest with active participation and not delegate continuous improvement to others.” – Alice Lee, Vice President, Business Transformation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center



Joseph E. Swartz is the Director of Business Transformation for Franciscan St. Francis Health of Indianapolis, IN. He has been leading continuous improvement efforts for 19 years, including 8 years in healthcare, and has led more than 200 Lean and Six Sigma improvement projects. Joseph is the co-author of Seeing David in the Stone and was previously an instructor at the University of Wisconsin. Joseph earned an MS in Management from Purdue University as a Krannert Scholar for academic excellence.

Mark Graban is the author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement and Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements. He is also the founder of and Chief Improvement Officer of KaiNexus, a technology company. With a background in engineering and manufacturing, Graban has worked exclusively in healthcare since 2005 where he applies “lean” and Toyota Production System principles to improve quality of care and patient safety, to improve the customer/patient experience, to help the development of medical professionals and employees, and to help build strong organizations for the long term. For more information, please visit

# # #