Lean is a management and operational system that ensures all parts of an organization are focused on finding and eliminating waste. By reducing waste, healthcare organizations are able to eliminate errors, and ultimately improve the quality and safety of healthcare services. In healthcare, waste can be defined as anything that does not add value to a patients’ experience such as time spent waiting for services, or inefficient processes that take staff and physicians away from direct patient care.
Hoshin Kanri is a strategic planning and management method being used through Lean.
Lean improves healthcare quality in many ways:
- It increases safety by eliminating defects and errors
- Patients work closely with staff to analyze current processes, look for waste, and find better ways to deliver care in the future
- Lean ensures efficient use of resources by getting rid of waste, and in many cases reducing costs
- Ultimately, patients have better health experiences and outcomes
Many healthcare systems in North America are using Lean to improve:
- Virginia Mason Medical Centre (Seattle, Washington)
- Seattle Children’s Hospital
- Thedacare (Wisconsin)
- St. Boniface Hospital (Winnipeg)