Using Lean in Healthcare
There are many healthcare issues that can be solved with the implementation of Lean. In any organization, and especially in healthcare, time is a critical resource; any time wasted means less time caring for patients. In most cases, the major causes of excess waste are inefficient processes that cause staff to be unproductive.
One Lean strategy to combat these inefficiencies is to create workflows designed to reduce or eliminate non-value added steps from processes. It’s important to note that the process you wish to improve must be properly identified and understood before it can be modified. This requires process mapping, which is the first step to improving a process.
Lean Strategy in Healthcare
To begin, select which specific process you would like to improve, (for example, a patient’s visit to the emergency room.) Make note of each step and who is responsible for what at each point. At each step, ask why this is being done, and if the action is valuable or wasteful. Each and every step, no matter how small, needs to be documented. In the case of healthcare organizations, value must be viewed from the perspective of the patients, and can translate to anything that improves the treatment process by alleviating pain or reducing suffering. (Source)(Source)
Once the entire process is mapped out, including the people who are involved, you can start to identify wasteful steps and generate improvements to the process. Some examples of waste that may be found in a hospital setting are:
- Overproduction (ordering unnecessary tests)
- Material movement (moving charts from workroom to workroom)
- Inappropriate processing (multiple care providers reentering patients’ social history without obtaining any new information)
- Inventory (patients waiting for long periods in examination rooms)
- Correction (wrong medication administered because of illegible handwriting
By eliminating these wastes, staff can spend less time on non-value activities and more time productively doing their jobs and providing quality care to patients.
For more information on lean and how Juran can use it to improve your healthcare productivity, please get in touch with the team.
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