My recent outpatient surgery has helped open my eyes and mind as well as my nasal passages. It was generally a good experience and I was treated by many good people. There were evidences of process engineering everywhere. I saw the "Toyota factory" from the perspective of a Toyota, so to speak. I am remembering the hospital chase scene from one of the Star Trek movies now.
For the moment this Christmas eve let me reflect on the question, "what is waste?" To me, waste is a false economy. Yes, small things add up over time on a "production line." I talked with a person a while back who was on Medicaid when she was denied a small medical procedure that could have prevented her a great deal of pain and a subsequent medical event costing government agencies a half million dollars. To me, that is waste. I wonder if we don't focus too much on the small things and miss the big things. The operations engineering that has been applied to medical care today is evident. The system now is based on, "just in time trust." Something has been saved. The patient representative introduces herself efficiently and disappears. Perhaps the engineers should experience the systems they design from the perspective of the Toyotas and from the perspective of the professional caregivers who are now, unintentionally, on stage to a live audience.