I went to the doctor’s office today for a nagging back pain I’ve had for a month. It turns out that I herniated a disc and that’s why my left leg has had a sharp electric-shock-pain for the last 30 days. I should have gone in sooner. Why didn’t I?
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Anyways, at check-in, I saw this simple way to prevent theft – if anyone had any inclinations to steal their pens, pencils, or any writing utensils, this is a sure-fire way of creating a disincentive for stealing their stuff. There are other ingenius ways to implement Poka Yoke in medicine also. This simple example was a good way to identify poka yoke opportunities.
Would you want to stick that in your pocket? Is it worth it? Making stealing uncomfortable is a simple way to poka-yoke a process.
- What is the process? Patients pay their co-payment at the hospital through debit card or credit card, which requires a signature for payment authorization. A signature is made with a pen.
- What is the defect or failure mode? In this example it is that patients steal pens after using them to sign the credit card authorization slip.
- 5 Whys – why do patients steal the pens? Sometimes patients steal the pens inadvertently or they steal on purpose.
- What can be done to warn the operator before making the error or prevent them from making the error? In this example, the patient steals pens.
- Countermeasure? Make it difficult for the patients to steal pens.
What have you seen in everyday instances that apply principles from Lean Thinking?