Lean thinking is not typically associated with healthcare, where waste of time, money, supplies, and goodwill is a common problem. But the principles of Lean management can, in fact, work in healthcare in much the same way they do in other industries using Lean thinking to streamline processes, reduce cost, and improve quality and timely delivery of products and services.
Lean thinking is not a manufacturing tactic or a cost-reduction program, but a management strategy that is applicable to all organisations because it has to do with improving processes. All organisations including healthcare organisations are composed of a series of processes, or sets of actions intended to create value for those who use or depend on them i.e. their customers….. the patients. The core idea of Lean involves determining the value of any given process by distinguishing value added steps from non value added steps, and eliminating waste so that ultimately every step adds value to the process.
To maximise value and eliminate waste, leaders in healthcare, as in other organizations, must evaluate processes by accurately specifying the value desired by the user, identifying every step in the process and eliminating non value added steps and making value flow from beginning to end based on the pull of the customer/patient. When applied rigorously and throughout an entire organisation, Leanprinciples can have a dramatic effect on productivity, cost, and quality.
An organisation’s culture is the set of values and beliefs that cause people to behave in certain ways. When they behave that way and get the results they expect, it reinforces those values and beliefs. This self-reinforcing cycle creates a culture.
Help Staff Embrace the Promise of Lean
Leaders who wish to change their organisational culture cannot do so by edict. They must intervene and require people to behave differently, allowing them to experience a better set of results. As this process is repeated, a different set of values and beliefs in a new culture will evolve. One of the challenges of implementing Lean in healthcare is that it requires people to identify waste in the work in which they are so invested. All workers want to feel their work is valuable, perhaps most especially healthcare workers. Recognising that much about their daily tasks is wasteful and does not add value can be difficult for healthcare professionals.
A nurse who is hunting for supplies is doing it to serve the needs of patients. Nurses may not see this as wasted time, and may not stop to wonder why those supplies aren’t where they should be when they need them. But if the supplies were always readily available, the time nurses spend hunting for them would instead be devoted to something more appropriate to their skills and expertise. To help staff see and embrace the promise of lean, leaders must create a clear vision statement that guides people to make the right choices. They must evaluate the organisational structure and work to flatten it, eliminating hierarchical layers and organising staff into operational teams based on products or services.
Implementing Lean in Healthcare
The patient pathway is at the heart of every healthcare organisation. The quality of the patient experience will be negatively impacted if the organisations core processes are not meeting expectations. Many Hospitals, Trusts and Day Care Centers are seeking to streamline their processes through the application of Lean. Those who do so successfully will substantially reduce their service lead times, drive down costs and create additional patient capacity.
All too often however, organisations that embrace Lean, try to run before they can walk. They wind up making the simplification process complex.
At Acclino we know that transforming a process is both a science and an art. Our Lean Training programmes will walk you through the science, step by step, in a highly interactive, learning-by-doing environment. We will also teach you the art of process transformation and how to fully engage people using real life case studies.https://www.acclino.com/lean-training/healthcare-masterclass/
Some of Acclino’s Outstanding Achievements in Healthcare
- Vacancy fill rates for Nursing Recruitment in an NHS Hospital increased by 87%.
- Recruitment lead times for Nursing & non-medical staff reduced by 55%.
- Laboratories completely transformed with test backlogs reduced by 90%.
Whether you are the sponsor, the owner, the facilitator or a key team member this training course will work for you and your organisation. Join us on our next training programme and start your process transformation.
Here at Acclino, we have distilled the essence of Lean, Six Sigma and Project Management into one framework and a handful of simple to use tools. The Acclino framework will work on any process in any organisation.
- It is simple to understand and apply.
- It will fully engage your people.
- Delivers outstanding results.
- No Jargon, no exams, no pain, no excuses.
- Acclino make it simple and keep it simple