About the Authors – Becoming the Change: Leadership Behavior Strategies for Continuous Improvement in Healthcare


John Toussaint, MD, is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Catalysis. An internist and former healthcare CEO, he is one of the foremost figures in the adoption of organizational excellence principles in healthcare. He founded Catalysis Inc., a nonprofit education institute, in 2008. Catalysis facilitates the Catalysis Healthcare Value Network composed of approximately 70 organizations throughout North America that learn, share, and connect with each other through site visits and digital interactions designed for peer-to-peer learning. In addition, Catalysis faculty and staff have developed in-depth workshops and created many products, including books, podcasts, and webinars.

In addition, Dr. Toussaint was a founding board member of the Center for Lean Engagement and Research (CLEAR) at UC Berkeley. Catalysis has university partnerships with the Stanford University Clinical Excellence Research Center and with the Ohio State Fisher School of Business Master of Operational Excellence. Dr. Toussaint is an adjunct professor at both schools.

Catalysis sponsors the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit each year—both in the United States and in Europe. The Catalysis team provides C-suite coaching and partners with many organizations throughout the world advancing healthcare value by supporting teams that are transforming healthcare delivery.

He was the founding chair of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality and of the Wisconsin Health Information Organization, as well as the non-executive leader of the Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform in Wisconsin. He has participated in Institute of Medicine subcommittees and has directly worked with CMS leaders to broaden their understanding of lean for government.

Dr. Toussaint’s healthcare improvement work has been well documented in articles published in NEJM Catalyst, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Health Affairs, The Journal of Patient Safety, The Journal of Healthcare Management, Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation, Harvard Business Review, and Frontiers in Health Services Management. His work on payment reform and the transparency of provider performance data has been featured in The American Journal of Managed Care, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, and the Commonwealth Fund publications. News publications such as TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the CNBC Blog, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Healthcare Finance News have featured articles about Dr. Toussaint’s work.

Dr. Toussaint has been recognized for his work in transforming healthcare by organizations including the Business Healthcare Group of Wisconsin, which awarded him the Driving Meaningful Change award in 2014, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), which inducted him into its 2012 Hall of Fame, and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, which hosts the Shingo Prize for Organizational Excellence. Dr. Toussaint was named a lifetime member of the Shingo Academy in 2011. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle also honored Dr. Toussaint with a Certificate of Commendation for Innovation from the State of Wisconsin in 2005. Dr. Toussaint is also the winner of ACHE’s 2014 Dean Conley Award for his article “A Management, Leadership and Board Road Map to Transforming Care for Patients,” published in the Spring 2013 issue of Frontiers of Health Services Management. He is also the recipient of the 2018 Cornell College Leadership and Service Award.

He has been a featured speaker at the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Shingo Institute, the Lean Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and many international conferences. He has presented extensively to legislators, Medicare leaders, and government staff on the topic of healthcare value.

Dr. Toussaint is the author of three other books, which have all received the prestigious Shingo Research and Publication Award. His groundbreaking first book, On the Mend: Revolutionizing Healthcare to Save Lives and Transform the Industry, reveals how healthcare can be fundamentally improved at the point of delivery using the proven principles of organizational excellence. His second book, Potent Medicine: The Collaborative Cure for Healthcare, describes the three core elements necessary to transform healthcare and deliver better value: delivery of care designed around the patient; transparency of treatment quality and cost; and payment for outcomes. His third book, Management on the Mend: The Executive Guide to System Transformation, is a study of 11 organizations and their successful attempts to apply organizational excellence principles in healthcare.

Kim Barnas is the CEO of Catalysis. Prior to her role at Catalysis, Kim served as a Senior Vice President for ThedaCare, and President of Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center, where she learned about operational excellence and implemented this work in hospital operations. The ThedaCare Improvement System (LEAN) path started in 2003, with Value Stream mapping followed by improvement events and projects. She was involved in leading two of the initial value streams for OB and Cancer Services.

As the journey continued, a new challenge emerged—the need for a systematic method to sustain improvement, clarify daily continuous improvement opportunities, and deliver on strategic deployment. To meet this need, Kim and her team led the development of a management system. This lean management system is designed to deliver improved performance through a predictable process that develops leaders, identifies defects, solves problems, and develops people. In 2014, Kim authored a book titled Beyond Heroes: A Lean Management System for Healthcare based on this journey.

Today, Kim is actively teaching, mentoring, and supporting healthcare executive teams around the world. Her current focus is a principle-based approach to executive management. This system builds a new set of competencies in senior leadership teams who are looking to improve organizational performance.

Kim has a Master of Science in Health Care Administration.