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Labeling – Making a difference at Beth Israel

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is a good customer of ours and  the CEO, Paul Levy has a great blog called “Running a Hospital”. Paul is clearly someone who understands that communication is really important and lists a lot of social medial writers in his blogroll. His blog is a great read.

Anyway, I was browsing through the RSS feed of Paul’s blog on Google Reader and came across a photo that included a Datamax printer. The story was about how the manager of the Hematology laboratory had set up a system to make it easy for the staff to make suggestions for improvements.

A competition was held, the person with the best idea would be highlighted a the “wall of fame” in the department.

I’m really happy to say that the winning idea was a labeling one. One of the technicians pointed out that when she needed a label she had to walk to the lab control the area, disturb the work that the people there were doing to have them print her a label. Her solution was to get an additional printer installed right where the labels are actually needed so she could produce labels right away as needed.

You can read Paul’s full story here.

The new printer was duly installed and all is well – a great example of distributed printing in action!

How about your organization? Are you using labeling to make things easier and help with your Lean strategies?

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  1. Thanks, but this was not a competition. By putting it that way, you miss an important part of the story. The idea was to encourage suggestions from all staff, and then have them all evaluate the suggestions for adoption.

  2. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for visiting and for the clarification. I can see that the word “competition” isn’t really right in this case. I thought of changing the text, but that would make the context of your comment odd.

    I assume that since this is part of your Lean strategy, you’ll also be encouraging these kinds of suggestions on an ongoing basis anyway? I know it can can often be difficult to get really constructive ideas from the teams.

    When it comes to Lean, I tend to think in terms of manufacturing – interesting to see the same ideas being used in healthcare.


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