Lean is a philosophy that requires the continuous elimination of waste or non-value-added elements from processes so that customers or patients are given ever greater value. Lean processes use space, time and capital investment, staff and materials efficiently to improve the ‘flow’ of tasks from beginning to end.
Lean is a tried and trusted system that has generated major efficiencies for both customers and organisations and has been applied to the healthcare sector with great success. Standard healthcare systems are not designed to make the process of care flow smoothly. Most are organised around functional departments such as pathology, radiology, radiotherapy and ED, in which patients travel from one site to queue up at another and then, after ‘processing’, are sent to yet another.
The focus of Lean thinking in healthcare is therefore on improving flow among activities of ‘core value’ to the individual patients’ journey and to the organization as a whole. In describing the progress and implications for healthcare of Lean thinking, President and Chief Executive of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Donald Berwick commented ‘The challenge is to revolutionise our expectations of healthcare: to design a continuous flow of work for clinicians and a seamless experience of care for patients.’
Some Benefits of Lean Healthcare
- Shorter patient waiting times
- More patient admissions and diagnoses
- Faster bed turnarounds
- Improved workplace organisation, cleanliness and safety
- Less inventory used and better use of space
- Better and more streamlined administration processes
- More efficient patient record and appointment processes
- More timely and efficient delivery of care
The AHHA, in association with LEI Group Australia, now offer a full suite of certified Lean Healthcare education programs (both on-line and instructor-led).
Read a case study into the benefits offered by Lean Healthcare training here.
What participants say about AHHA-LEI Lean training
"Came with limited knowledge and left feeling empowered to to go back and put strategies in place to improve and reduce waste"
"Thoroughly enjoyed. Makes me think about the further improvements to be made at work to benefit all"
"Certainly feel that I am able to utilise techniques within my organisation"
"Very good facilitation, open to discussion and questions. Made participants feel comfortable with use of humor and non-threatening attitude"
"There is a huge need to apply Lean to clinical processes as well as admin and management functions. "Best practice - how the quality movement is changing healthcare" had a huge influence on me"