Mark Wahba's blog

The Puck Stops Here: Kaizen and the Art of Goaltending

Submitted by Mark Wahba on April 23, 2012 - 18:21

Braden Holtby is the 22-year-old rookie goaltender for the Washington Capitals. He is the sensation of the first round of the 2012 National Hockey League playoffs. Like all goalies, he wears a customized protective mask that marks his identity. But it's what's on the back of Holtby's mask that's truly unique: the symbol of Kaizen, or continuous improvement. Holtby observes, adapts, and implements small changes to his game to improve the odds of stopping the puck. The province of Saskatchewan wants everyone in healthcare to be a Braden Holtby. It has committed to implementing the culture of Lean pioneered by Toyota and adapted to healthcare by organizations such as Virginia Mason Health Systems. Whether in the form of a Stanley Cup or better patient care, Kaizen produces winners.

Patient-Centred Care: Is It In the Cards?

Submitted by Mark Wahba on March 20, 2012 - 18:09

Kids used to collect sports trading cards. These cards had pictures of players on the front, and some data and a few biographical snippets on the back. They made the otherwise remote and unknowable stars a little more accessible and a little more human. Maybe trading cards would be useful a back-to-the-future innovation in health care. At each new patient encounter, the staff member would hand the patient one of their cards. All the doctors, nurses, support staff, everyone. The card would have the staff member’s first name and photo on the front with a little write-up on the back.

Feta Compli: In Praise of Dullness

Submitted by Mark Wahba on January 25, 2012 - 10:36

Underdog Greece stunned the soccer world by winning Euro 2004, the sport's second-biggest tournament. How did they do it? With suffocating defence and an arguably tedious style. Purists scorned the approach, but what the Greeks lacked in entertainment value paled beside the stunning victory. Solid, preventive health care that addresses both individual and population needs lacks the glamour of high-tech medicine, but it, too, can be hugely effective. Perhaps health care should take a lesson from Greek soccer: winning beats interesting any day.

Brad Pitt Can Save Health Care

Submitted by Mark Wahba on October 18, 2011 - 01:33

Brad Pitt has an approach to data and performance that could save health care. That's right: Brad Pitt. Yes, the same Brad Pitt that started his career on the daytime soap opera Another World; played the cool thief in the Oceans series of films; then the goofy fitness trainer in Burn After Reading and topped it off by marrying Hollywood femme fatale, Angelina Jolie. Handsome, charming, master of self-deprecating humour, and now saviour of the health care system; Is there nothing he can’t do?