Lean Blog Interviews — 331: Dr. Eric Dickson, a CEO’s Perspective on Lean and Ever

My guest today for Episode #331 is Eric W. Dickson, MD, MHCM, FACEP, a Professor of Emergency Medicine at UMass Medical School and Chief Executive Officer of the UMass Memorial Health Care system. You might have heard Dr. Dickson speak in Episode #231 of the podcast, which was audio from the CEO panel at the 2015 Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit. By the way, I hope you can join me at this year’s Summit. In that audio, Dr. Dickson talked about the beginning of what has been quite an impressive turnaround at UMass Memorial Health Care. I invited him to formally be a guest on the podcast to talk about their progress, and what it means for him to be creating a culture of “Everyday Innovators: Everywhere, Every Day,” which has led to over 65,000 ideas being implemented in five years. This is also a topic he blogs about quite a bit. In our conversation, we discuss how he found Lean originally “almost out of desperation.” How can we shift from “knowing the answer” to “continuous experiments?” Why is it important that he, as CEO, not be “throwing solutions out” when working with people? Does it help that he works a few shifts a month as an emergency medicine doc? We talk about that and more.