Lean Healthcare – What Are Its Benefits?

There are many reasons why hospitals and healthcare facilities all over the world have begun to implement Lean management principles. Lean healthcare is the latest buzzword in the medical industry and it has been adopted wholeheartedly by hospitals and clinics. Some of its benefits include:

– Reducing wastage of resources such as time and materials: Improved systems in the hospital ensure that only necessary tests are ordered, doctors do not have to spend a lot of time walking around the wards, patients do not have to wait for extended periods before they get treatment or even fill out lots of forms. These are just some of the examples of how the right systems can ensure that resources are spent in the correct manner. In most cases, the savings are dramatic since many processes tend to be inordinately wasteful

– Better patient care: Patients in a Lean healthcare facility have to ensure fewer tests and Lean Healthcarethey are also able to get treatment done without waiting around the medical facility. Also, the improved systems ensure that they get better treatment at a reduced cost. Medical errors are also reduced by a large extent since systems are smoother and duplicate processes are eliminated. Needless to say, patients prefer to come back to this hospital whenever they need medical care.

– Improved employee satisfaction: Physicians, technicians and nurses are generally very pleased to be working at a Lean healthcare facility. They are able to provide high quality healthcare to their patients and this gives them immense satisfaction. At the same time, they are able to achieve this without undergoing a great deal of pressure on their personal or professional fronts.

– Increased profitability: A hospital that makes a lot of profits is able to plough a great deal of money into its infrastructure. This ensures that it is able to invest in the latest equipment and also in employee training. The Lean management process also identifies various processes that are extremely good for business.

It is clear to see that the objective of a Lean hospital is to provide high quality care to as many patients as possible with the least amount of cost and minimum wastage. Therefore, it is no surprise that hospitals, both large and small, are making the transition to this style of management. In fact, the process of changing to Lean management can involve a lot of upheaval in the organization, however the results are always worth it.

Bottom Line: Read about the various benefits that accrue from a Lean healthcare facility. Hospitals all over the world are going Lean because this is clearly the best way to manage them.

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    Lean Hospital – How To Get A Hospital To Think Lean

    It is a common misconception that Lean management principles are meant only for the manufacturing industry. Going by the number of healthcare facilities that wish to have the Lean Hospital tag, it is fairly easy to see that this management principles is extremely effective in the health industry as well. It enables hospitals to provide better medical care whilst ensuring that wastage of resources comes down to the absolute minimum.

    However, it is not at all easy to manage the transition to a new style of working, especially since medical professionals will be required to work in unaccustomed manners. The following tips will enable them to make an easy transition:

    1. Communicate the importance of using Lean management: Most healthcare Lean Hospitalprofessionals are not concerned about working effectively or learning new ways of doing their work because they believe that this is not their business. However, once they find out how patients can get treatment as quickly as possible and also better quality of medical care then they will be willing to make the switch. Healthcare professionals should also be advised that they will have a lot of spare time if they work more efficiently.
    2. Give people the right training: Employees will only be able to work in a different manner if they are given the necessary training. This also motivates them to put in the necessary effort.
    3. Give employees the resources they need so that they can use Lean principles in their day to day work: This includes new reporting systems, shifting treatment areas and new materials used. Even if this requires a large initial investment it will give good returns in time.

    As you can see, hospitals need to put in a lot of effort at the outset in order to make theirs a Lean facility. It is best to get professional help or else the organization will not be able to get a good start. It is very important to get the fundamentals right when making important changes in running an organization. This process takes up a lot of time and money at the outset but it gives hospitals plenty of benefits almost immediately.

    Once the different people in the hospital have internalized the new style of working then they will begin to ‘think’ Lean. This ensures that they will be able to give the best possible care to patients without taxing themselves or the hospital’s resources very much.

    Bottom Line: A Lean hospital is more efficient and profitable than a conventional one. Find out how to get everyone at the hospital to think Lean.

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      Lean Hospital

      With the challenges facing many hospitals, many of them are applying concepts of “Lean” to their operations to improve their profitability, patient care, utilization, and other metrics.  “Lean Hospital,” which is adopted from Toyota Production System (TPS), is bringing about measurable improvements in Quality of Care, Safety, Wait Time, Job Balancing, and overall Cost. Healthcare leaders are realizing that patients are willing to pay for value—that they go to the hospital to be diagnosed, treated, and discharged, but aren’t willing to pay for more than that (deemed waste). 

      Lean Hospital Concerns

      The Toyota Production System is arguably the most important invention in operations since Henry Ford’s Model T began rolling off the production line. It has spawned numerous approaches to improving operations, all based on the same principles: relentless attention to detail, standardization, training workers to continuously look for ways to increase efficiency and eliminate waste in their jobs, commitment to data-driven experimentation, and scientific problem solving.  This collection of ideas is often termed “Lean”.  Today most manufacturing companies and some service firms reap its rewards.
      Hospital Activities


      However, attempts to apply lean approaches to most service industries have proved frustratingly difficult.  Most in the business world believe that service industries do not lend themselves to lean principles because, unlike car assembly, it is not based on repetitive actions and can’t be unambiguously defined.

      The story below is an excellent example of how hospitals are thinking outside the box to solve a problem.

      “ER visits set a record of more than 123 million in 2008, up from 117 million a year earlier,” says preliminary data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.    “The longer people stay in the emergency department, the more likely they’re going to have complications or deaths.  If they’re elderly, they are more likely to end up in a nursing room,” said Dr. Nick Jouriles, Emergency Medicine Chief at Akron General Hospital in Ohio.  “A disturbing report last year from Congress’ investigative arm found that too often, patients who should have been seen immediately waited nearly half an hour.  Add in tests and treatments and a trip to ER can easily last three or four hours.  ERs are getting busier, forcing them to try innovative tactics to cut delays, such as stationing doctors at the front door to get a jump-start on certain patients.”

      Associated Press, “ERs think outside the box to ease waits” by Lauran Neergaard

      Lean Consultants who truly know the philosophy of Kaizen, and more importantly, know how to apply it to a hospital environment, can very effectively identify sources of waste (7+1 types of Muda), and establish sustainable systems that will result in progress toward a world class healthcare system.  Improved profitability, better quality of care and shorter wait times are just three examples of the benefits that “Lean Hospital” can reap.  Let’s start the Lean journey to success and progress.

      Get Kaizened is a leading company in providing lean hospital consulting. Contact us today for more information on our consulting and training solutions.

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