Posted on in General

Why would a Harvard neurosurgeon spend his spare time trying to understand how the Cheesecake Factory operates their kitchens.

In the New Yorker magazine, writer and practicing neurosurgeon, Dr Atul Gawande marveled at how the Cheesecake Factory uses intelligent process design and standardized work flows to deliver consistently high quality food at reasonable cost.

He notes that healthcare delivers inconsistent service and  mixed quality of care at very high prices.  Insurers and employers keep on paying. Patients suffer with the complications. And standardization is not even on the agenda in most healthcare centers.

Gawande asks, why doesn’t healthcare do what the Cheesecake Factory does using STANDARDIZATION of work flows to deliver high quality and excellent service at reasonable cost?

Here is what Dr Atul Gawande found in the kitchens at The Cheesecake Factory.

  • Easy to understand and helpful computerized systems
  • Knowledgeable and motivated workers
  • Following standardized processes
  • Kitchen managers actively managing the entire production process
  • Innovation of products on a regular basis

At the same time, Dr Gawande looked for an orthopedic surgeon for his mother who needed a knee replacement. He found an exceptional knee surgeon who had superior results because of STANDARDIZATION.

Dr John Wright, an orthopedic surgeon, at Brigham and Women’s hospital had spent a decade working on standardization of knee replacements.

The results of Dr Wright’s work on the standardization of knee replacement include: earlier mobility, shorter hospital stays, lower infection rates, better management of pain and lower cost of care.

These are the outstanding results from STANDARDIZATION. This is not a bad word. It is easy to spell and introduce into our everyday vocabulary. It should be top of mind for those interested in healthy system change.

Now all we need is the commitment to learn from the leaders in STANDARDIZATION at the Cheesecake Factory and in healthcare.