A Presence Health spokesperson did not say whether the system's new direction would still include those weeklong breakthrough events.
Experts in process improvement say it is often difficult to get leadership to commit to such programs, which rely upon engaging lower status, front-line staff in problem-solving. Already the industry struggles with creating a culture where employees feel empowered to flag mistakes and speak up.
Mark Graban, a Dallas-based consultant and author of several books on Lean, said it is not uncommon for hospitals to drop Lean when a new CEO steps in. Englehart, former president of Advocate Physician Partners, joined Presence Health in October.
Cost-cutting is often a major reason for ditching a program. “It's a catch-22,” Graban said. The cost of investing a week's worth of an employee's time in fixing problems may be offset by the money saved by improving efficiency, quality and having a more satisfied staff.
Leadership arrogance, he said, is often another factor.
“People think that through the force of their personality or financial wizardry that they are going to be able to fix a hospital without engaging employees in the improvement,” he said.