A Huntington Woods entrepreneur who turned his downsizing into an opportunity for growth has found international success with a pioneering health care app for iPad.
Practical Lean for Healthcare, which teaches health care professionals how to cut costs and improve service by streamlining operations, is available in Apple’s App Store for $3.99. The first-of-its-kind tool is based on Lean, a management system that originated in the manufacturing sector.
"It's educational and broad based enough that it should be able to help senior people – such as your CEO, COO, chief medical officers – as well as front-line managers," developer Todd Sperl said.
Sperl – an expert in the Lean system of management – launched his own consulting business after being downsized in 2008 from St. John Providence Health System. Lean Fox Solutions' client list since has grown to include the following.
- Garden City Hospital
- Spectrum Health System
- Mendelson Kornblum Orthopedic & Spine Specialists
- Chatham-Kent Health Alliance
- Genesis HealthCare System
"Would I have done this if I hadn't been downsized? The answer is, no," Sperl said of starting Lean Fox Solutions.
Now, he hopes to cash in on the exploding market for mobile health care apps by introducing more pioneering tools like Practical Lean for Healthcare.
Global revenues for health care apps increased from $718 million to $1.3 billion between 2011 and 2012, according to a Mobile Health Market Report cited by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Practical Lean for Healthcare has become a case in point: The app already has been downloaded in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Philippines, Germany, Vietnam, Chile, Austria, Norway, Czech Republic, Colombia and Saudi Arabia.
The app does the following.
- Provides background on the Lean management system.
- Offers training and case studies to show how Lean can be applied in health care settings.
- Includes an interactive assessment tool that allows users to download an action plan based on their results.
"The assessment gives you a nice starting point," said Andrea Sperl, who handles marketing for Lean Fox Solutions. "It helps you figure out what would be the most impactful place to start and how do you do it."
The Sperls work with Don Tapping, whose Chelsea, MI-based company MCS Media, Inc., has published some of Todd Sperl's health care books.
“The amount of information out there on Lean in health care can be overwhelming, so our goal was to create the best information and deliver it in a compelling format through the use of video, audio and case studies," Tapping said of the iPad tool.
Andrea Sperl added that her husband, in collaboration with Tapping, has three books in the pipeline and is designing more apps.
"We're first to market and we want to continue to be at the leading edge of the app world," she said.