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Lean Management in Healthcare â?? A primer for Excellence

Concepts of Lean management and its history were introduced, including origins in automotive industry, but is very suitable for application especially for Healthcare sector. Healthcare sector has a number of issues including many defects, not necessarily clinical, example Long waiting times, and other services deficiencies. Lean approaches identify waste & bottlenecks in workflow, which can then be eliminated by a systematic approach. Lean has many tools applicable to healthcare, with VSM (Value stream mapping) & 5S being discussed. These tools can be rapidly deployed with minimal to low cost, and show rapid results. Lean is extremely effective due to its bottom-up approach and inclusiveness in implementation. Cannot and should not be done in isolation. The most appropriate point to start with is 5S, which deals with clutter & inefficient space management. 5S is the base of the quality pyramid , with CQI or continuous quality improvement and Kaizen being the next steps. Eventually Total Quality Management is the desired goal. But the starting point is 5S – Sort, Set, Shine , Standardize & Sustain. Of these the first 3S’s Sort, Set & Shine are critical starting points. Sorting of all accumulated stuff into 3 categories- Retain, back end storage & Dispose , is the first step. Followed by Setting in Order the workplace all what is needed , and only in required quantity , close by at hand, with an adequate replacement plan. This frees up space and organizes the workplace, and improves efficiency & response times. Shine is not merely sweep & swab, but a thorough systematic cleaning and inspecting the work are to identify possible defects before they become bigger. Later on other steps can be used.

Author(s): Rahul Pandya 

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