P.O. Box 409095
Chicago, IL 60640
Length: 5 minutes, 2 seconds
Interviewer: Vince Galloro
Interviewee: David Spencer
[00:00:03.02] Vince Galloro: Hello. Were here at Modern Healthcares executive interview podcast, and today were with David Spencer, senior vice president of operations development at Signature Hospital Corp. How are you doing?
[00:00:13.17] David Spencer: Im good. How are you?
[00:00:15.28] Vince Galloro: Very well. Thanks for joining us.
[00:00:14.05] David Spencer: Good. I appreciate it.
[00:00:18.24] Vince Galloro: Why dont you start by telling us a little bit about Signature and where this companys positioning itself.
[00:00:24.07] David Spencer: OK. Signature is a young company, its only a couple of years old. We havecurrently havefour and are in the process of adding a fifth facility. Our goal is to really differentiate ourselves in the marketplace based on our mission. And our mission is to provide measurable value to the customer. And to that end, weve invested quite a bit in technology and in employee education. And we think that were taking a rather unique approach to giving the customer clear value transparency and accountability.
[00:01:05.03] Vince Galloro: Your background is a little different from a lot in hospital managament; you started out in hospital management and went from there into sort of an entrepreneurial role, and some work on the vendor side of things, and then have come back. What has that experience taught you?
[00:01:18.15] David Spencer: Well, its beenits, honestly, its been enormously valuable. I started out involved in operating teaching hospitals and then later on was involved in running 125, 130 hospitals around the country. And then, had a unique opportunity to get involved in creating a company. My wife was involved in a pretty serious injury with a medical error, and it caused me to take about a 15-year diversion into developing new software and technology to help hospitals capture, identify and analyze on a real-time basis the cause of medical errors. And most recently, before I joined Signature, I was the worldwide business manager for Eastman Kodak Healthcare Business Solutions. And I had a very unique opportunity to work with manufacturing engineers and the whole area of whats called lean thinking and understand some insights into how that lean thinking can really improve hospital performance and transfer that technology into our industry. So thats my background.
[00:02:28.21] Vince Galloro: OK. Tell us a little bit about how youre trying to apply lean management techniques to hospital operations.
[00:02:39.01] David Spencer: OK. Our entire approach to this is based on the concept that lean thinking is a way of eliminating waste in any human organization. It was developed by Toyota Motor Co. some 30 years ago, but its equally valuable in our organization. What were doing is creating a systemwide initiative that basically has two parts. One is using our technology to measure and track the underlying causes of medical errors. The other is to use lean thinking to help people who learn to think about their jobs differently.
Lean thinking is really not a project or methodology; it is a way of teaching employees how to solve problems. And the key to lean thinking is towe have created in all our hospitals transformation teams and something called visual workplaces. And the whole idea behind that is critcal data is shared across the entire organization, and our transformation teams work together to solve workflow problems laterally across multiple departments, as opposed to the more traditional approach, which says this is a nursing problem, or an emergency department problem, and its beginning to give us real dividends.
[00:04:03.03] Vince Galloro: OKy. And eventually, you feel like those process improvements will translate into business success as well?
[00:04:08.19] David Spencer: Wewe believe, yes, that if we provide superior care, and our cost position is superior in a marketplace, that we dont have to raise prices and slash costs to be successful. And weve seen some enormous improvements in a short period of time. We had a hospital that since just June of this year, reduced their medication error rate by about 72%. We had one of our hospitals that reduced our, the number of forms in our outpatient registration area from 23 to three in about four or five days. Weve seen registration times reduced 50 and 60% in our outpatient clinics. So its still early, but its pretty exciting.
[00:04:54.23] Vince Galloro: All right. Well, Dave, thank you for your time today for executive interview podcast.
[00:04:59.25] David Spencer: Thanks for the opportunity.