Solve Problems Before They Happen

Solve Problems Before They Happen

Summary
This is a summary of the 2020 Dan Heath book, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. Dan and his brother Chip have previously written several bestsellers we have summarized, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard and Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. Upstream covers a key Lean continuous Improvement topic: problem solving to root cause. Often the most effective (and least expensive) way to fix a problem is by preventing it from ever occurring. “So often we find ourselves reacting to problems, putting out fires, dealing with emergencies. We should shift our attention to preventing them.”   3 Barriers to Overcome Heath begins by sharing some common thinking barriers we need to overcome as we move upstream.   Problem Blindness:…
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Problem Solving to Root Cause

Problem Solving to Root Cause

Lesson
While facilitating an improvement project for a hospital's surgical department recently, our team was presented with a clear opportunity for improvement. Recent data logged during a long day of procedures included three separate surgical cases where the patient's discharge paperwork was incorrect. These three errors were all caught by the surgeon before the patient was discharged, but other patients had reported receiving and following the wrong post-op procedures. The team decided that this issue was a priority to address and the Nursing Director took a leadership role in bringing together the team involved in preparing the pre-op paperwork to review the problem and propose solutions. The team was able to work together to quickly make some significant improvements while learning some core concepts of problem-solving. Some of the tools and…
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