Virtually Learning and Improving Together in 2021

Lean Healthcare Academic Conference FROM Stanford

Dear Fellow Conference Attendees,

On behalf of the organizing committee, it is our pleasure to welcome you to the 6th Lean Healthcare Academic Conference from Stanford!  We are looking forward to gathering virtually later today.

This is our second year of convening this event entirely virtually, our physical distance imposed upon us once again by a pandemic that will not yet relent. COVID-19 has changed how we deliver healthcare and, more fundamentally, how we interact as a society in ways that we still don’t fully understand.  Yet despite the countless challenges we have all faced, we are still improving. Perhaps now more than ever, we must celebrate our resolve to continuously improve the way we provide care for those in need.  We must celebrate our efforts to share our learnings.  And we must celebrate our incredible diversity which allows us to learn so much from one another. Even if we must meet again virtually, our commitment to coming together reminds us that our improvement community is resilient in spite of our challenges.

As we continue to adapt to ever changing guidelines in our communities, the way we work continues to evolve and we are therefore focusing our 2021 conference theme on Learning and Improving Together in a Hybrid World.  None of us knows precisely what work will look like a year from now except to say that things have fundamentally changed.  Our hybrid combination of virtual and in-person ways of working is likely to be here to stay in one way or another.  How best can we adapt our management systems to the new reality that sometimes we are going to gemba – virtually?  How can we tackle the critical work of improving our diversity, equity and inclusion using our management systems even if we are physically distant?  And how can we ensure that our patients continue to define value for our organizations when the word “stability” seems almost like a dream.  Our incredible group of speakers will surely share some deep wisdom from their experiences.  We know that successful lean transformation in healthcare requires the active engagement of our most important resource – our people.  As we emerge from the pandemic into new ways of working, engaging our people remains critical as we adapt to our hybrid work environments.

Starting in our first year, the Lean Healthcare Academic Conference was designed to foster an increased and deeper understanding of lean improvement in healthcare with a specific emphasis on learnings from teaching hospitals around the world and more broadly, through a program which follows an academic format. An international call for abstracts, led by Dr. Lauren Destino, continues to serve as the basis of our program. We received a robust number of submissions yielding 36 posters and 21 oral presentations featured in three of the sessions within the overall program.  In accordance with our founding principle, this means that more than half of the program is comprised of delegate contributions!  We hope this forum will continue to serve as a rallying call for further academic collaboration and foster opportunities for each of us to continue to learn from one another even as we are re-imagining how to best improve in a remote/in-person hybrid world.

This conference is sponsored by the Stanford Medicine Center for Improvement and in our 6th year, we are delighted to be joined by clinicians, leaders and improvement practitioners from over 35 organizations across 5 continents. Despite the challenge of vast distance, multiple time zones, virtual meeting fatigue, and exhaustion with the pandemic, we are convening to share how we can learn and improve together in this new hybrid world.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the multitude of world-class speakers and contributors in our program for their generous participation in this event. The Lean Global Network, through the US and Australian Institutes, continues its support of this event and we are thankful for their contribution and participation.   Critical to the success of any academic conference is the robust support of institutions which encourage their employees to share their learnings.  The VA Palo Alto Health System, Stanford Medicine, Eastern Health in Melbourne Australia, UT South Western Medical Center, Oregon Health and Science University and Sharp Healthcare are deserving of special thanks as organizations fielding 10 or more delegates hoping to share their learnings. We would be remiss not to acknowledge the immense contribution of our colleagues who helped organize this event, your enthusiasm and hard work have made this event a true success.

This year we’re also excited to announce that our virtual event will be hosted on Accelevents! With the Accelevents platform, you are able to review our program and create an experience tailored for you by choosing the sessions that are of interest. You can go onto the platform now to learn more about our speakers, connect with other delegates, and visit our poster courtyard – all in one place.

In response to our delegate feedback from 2020, we’ve ensured there will be even more opportunities to network and connect with other delegates throughout the two-day program by joining Accelevents informal lounges and by exploring delegate profiles, with the option to direct message. Delegates can also participate in event activities through live session chats and Q&A.

Last, but absolutely not least, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to all of you attending the conference. Our aim continues to be advancing our understanding of how lean systems can be successfully applied in healthcare and the submission of abstracts by delegates is the critical piece to furthering our learning. We are very grateful to all those sharing their work so we can all learn and improve together.

As always, true to our Lean aspirations, we deeply value your participation and feedback.

With warm regards,

Terry, Jonaelle, Lane and Denise
Conference Executives on behalf of the Conference Organizing Committee


Terry Platchek, MD, Vice President, Performance Improvement, Stanford Children’s Health & Clinical Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine

Jonaelle Lucas, Performance Improvement Advisor, Stanford Children’s Health

Lane Donnelly, MD, Chief Quality Officer, Stanford Children’s Health & Professor of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Denise Bennett, Lean Coach, Stanford Children’s Health, CEO Lean Enterprise Australia, Executive Director, Lean Global Network