What is Lean Healthcare?+
"Lean" is a new mindset for managing complex healthcare processes and supporting services to provide highest quality service with faster speed and at minimum cost.
Lean healthcare is an innovative way to provide enhanced value to the customer and business growth of healthcare organization. Lean is a highly practical and effective management concept promoted by two MIT professors Jim Womack and Daniel Jones based on Toyota Production System (TPS). Toyota is recognized as one of the most successful companies of the world, which has consistently grown during last seventy years due to its unique management system.
As an extension of success of Toyota management principles in manufacturing and customer servicing, other industries and service sectors; including healthcare have made adaptations of Lean to establish consistent quality, faster service delivery, and safety of healthcare personnel that result in:
• Improved healthcare service quality by reducing clinical errors, mistakes, defects and waiting time.
• Increased capacity for handling more customers (patients) with the same resources.
• Reduced cost of operations by eliminating non-value added activities.
• Improved staff and customer satisfaction by simplification of systems.
• Quality leadership of organization by matching with the world-class standards.
• Business growth by efficient utilization of resources.
Why Lean healthcare?
Since last few years' cost of healthcare is continuously rising along with increasing complexity and sophistication in clinical processes. Due to increased sophistication healthcare operations require large number of people with special skills, expensive diagnostic machines and complex processes to address quality and safety issues.
At the same time in healthcare process, patients has to wait for more than 95% of time to get value-added service from clinical and other supporting healthcare processes. The waiting time that too in condition of sickness is the greatest concern for service providers, which can be best addressed by Lean.
Under such situations the healthcare sector is coming under increasing pressure to deploy resources more efficiently, reduce cost and improve service quality. In such complex systems people involved in managing the operations are often forced to intervene, making last minute adjustments and become experts at fire fighting. The principles of Lean Thinking have been developed to tackle just such problems.
Lean Thinking in healthcare is not just about cost reduction, nor about 'efficiency' improvements or staff cuts. It is about improving the safety and quality of healthcare by applying a series of continuous incremental improvements in processes, people and organization culture.
Interest in applying lean thinking to healthcare processes has grown across the world. Many hospitals have begun to see how lean processes can deliver better quality outcomes, increased customer satisfaction and improved working conditions for staff while treating more number of patients with the same resources.
How lean makes dramatic improvements?
In all kinds of processes including healthcare, at any moment of time people are either adding value or creating waste. Waste is defined as any activity or thing that does not add value but absorbs resources. The focus of lean is to see and eliminate waste of all kinds of resources. By understanding Lean principles, healthcare personnel will be able to look at their work differently to identify saving potential of time, money, supplies, and goodwill and will be able to eliminate waste by application of lean tools. The ultimate effect of lean implementation results to significant improvements in service speed, quality, profitability and customer satisfaction.
Introducing the Lean concepts to Indian Hospitals
Customers are looking for hassle free, world-class healthcare services from Indian hospitals and at the same time India is emerging as a preferred destination for Medical Tourism, which is opening a new growth opportunity for Indian healthcare organizations. Implementation of Lean healthcare will enhance confidence of domestic as well as foreign customers in lean hospitals that can assure world-class healthcare quality at competitive cost.