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St. Clair Hospital 2

A Lean Transformation



Tania Lyon  |  Director of Operational Performance Improvement  |  St. Clair Hospital


KaiNexus has given us a vision of what's going on across our organization that we've never had before. This transparency brings more opportunities for improvement, more work that we could be doing, more coaching that we could be doing. Now we know where to go to do that coaching. We find that a lot of employees have ideas on a regular basis, but their default is to go verbally share those ideas with their managers. When those ideas come in, our managers have been coached to immediately say  -

"That's a great idea. Go put that in KaiNexus."

That way, it takes a lot of the burden off the manager and increases communication and transparency across the organization so that everyone can see what's being worked on and the manager doesn't have to carry all that.



St. Clair is an unusual organization in that, during the course of its 60-year history, it's only had 3 CEOs. It was the newest one - Jim Collins - who instigated the development of a Lean culture in their organization. Collins had exposure to the Toyota Production System, having seen it tested successfully in other hospitals. When he came on board at St. Clair Hospital, he started sending his senior leadership team off to get some TPS training. The VPs came back from the training inspired and feeling that: 

"This is it, we need this. We have to have this culture, and we have to do it right. We can't just send a bunch of managers off to training and hope that this will happen in our hospitals, we need someone to drive it from the inside." 

That's when St. Clair Hospital hired Tania Lyon, who is a self-described "recovering academic," with a Ph.D. in Sociology and a passion for understanding how people in organizations fit together. When Lyon came on board, St. Clair Hospital had quite literally the worst Emergency Department in Western Pennsylvania, ranking in the 14th percentile nationally for overall patient satisfaction. After about 18 months of using Lean methodologies to improve this department, the Hospital rose to the 99th percentile and held that for over five years. 

This was really the perfect project to tackle at the beginning of a Lean journey; the low-hanging fruit was an obvious problem with ready solutions, and once the Hospital saw this success, it really got everyone’s attention. The entire Hospital began to realize that it works and that: 

"If it can turn around our most broken part of the hospital then surely it can work in other areas as well.”


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