SUNIL CHOPRA AND CANAN SAVASKAN
Weight Solutions Clinic:
Bariatric Surgery Center
“Tell me Mike, how do you expect me to face Mr. Spitzer, who has already waited ten weeks for an answer from his insurance company, and tell him that the earliest we can operate on him is in three months’ time? You know that he is struggling to make this drastic commitment, and we are just making life more difficult for him,” Dr. Crawler said to his head surgeon. “We urgently need to do something about this. This is not the first time that I have had to deal with such an unpleasant situation, and I am sure this will not be the last.” Dr. George Crawler, one of the leading bariatric surgeons in the country, founded the Bariatric Surgery Center at the Weight Solutions Clinic in 1988. He had performed more than 2,700 bariatric surgeries since 1979 and was recognized as a pioneer in the field. Dr. Michael Whitmore, the head surgeon of the Bariatric Surgery Center, replied in a helpless tone, “I completely agree with you, George. But I am only a surgeon, not a hospital manager. I can’t tell you exactly what needs to be done. I talked to Steven yesterday, and he thinks we need more rooms. I think we should hire another surgeon who can do this laparoscopic trick. Some of our colleagues from the care unit downstairs think we need to reallocate some of the tasks among the personnel to manage the work load. Which one of these options will help us cut down our patient lead times is not obvious to me.” Dr. Crawler picked up the three business cards lying on his desk and said, “I hear what you are saying, Mike. Neither you nor I have the time or the skills to analyze the process at the Center, so I have scheduled a meeting with some healthcare process experts with MBAs from the Kellogg School of Management. They look competent in the field of process improvement and have significant experience improving hospital operations. I am meeting them in my office at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. Would you like to join me?”
Obesity as an Epidemic
In 1998, the World Health Organization published Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic, which classified obesity as a growing epidemic in the world.1 The study
Louis Flancbaum, MD, and Erica Manfred, with Deborah Flancbaum, MS Ed, The Doctor’s Guide to Weight Loss Surgery (West Hurley, NY: Fredonia Communications, 2001).
©2004 by the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. This case was prepared by Professor Sunil Chopra and Professor Canan Savaskan. Cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 800-545-7685 (or 617-783-7600 outside the United States or Canada) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of the Kellogg School of Management.
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WEIGHT SOLUTIONS CLINIC: BARIATRIC SURGERY CENTER
reported that in the United States, obesity affected one third of all Americans and was the most common chronic disease. The article also said that in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and the remaining portions of the Americas, the number of people who were obese was increasing and was between 10 and 20 percent. The number of obese people in China, Japan, and many countries in Africa was still fairly low. During the 1970s, the National Center for Health Statistics found that approximately 45 percent of all adult Americans were overweight and 14 percent were obese. These figures stayed relatively...