Lean in health care can be defined as an organization's cultural commitment to apply the scientific method to designing, performing, and continuously improving the work delivered by teams of people, leading to measurably better value for patients and other stakeholders. Lean is an operating system composed of 6 principles that constitute the essential dynamic of Lean management. To miss on any one of these principles is to miss on Lean's full potential to benefit the organization's stakeholders.
Applying Lean Healthcare principles can lead to improvements in a broad range of operating processes found in every healthcare organization which include processes right from patient's admission to his/her discharge. In healthcare, implementation of LEAN can help with following:
- Discharge cycle time and cost reduction
- Medication dispensing efficiency
- Reduction in non-reimbursed claims
- Bio-Hazardous waste reduction
- Blood Bank cycle time reduction
- St. Joseph's Hospital changed the ER patient flow,allowing the hospital to treat at least 10,000 more patients annually.
- THe Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare initiative cut the amount of reported central line-associated blood stream infections by more than 50%. The rate per 1,000 line days (the measure hospitals use) plummeted from 4.2 to 1.9
- A large metropolitan hospital system reduced in patient transfers by 75% and has $2 million annual cost savings
- A top five hospital system used Lean Sic Sigma to redesign its transplant unit and as a result improved patient satisfaction by 50% within three months; the cost of care was reduced by 15%.