An emerging trend in the healthcare industry is the implementation of lean principles. In recent years, hospital and laboratory professionals have discovered that applying lean methodologies in their environment is just as beneficial as other industries. The lean principles of increased quality, customer focus, flexibility to meet changing demands and speed of delivery fits perfectly in healthcare settings. As long as the tools and techniques are applied properly, a lean healthcare environment can satisfy the growing demands from patients in the coming years.
Most healthcare facilities which adapt lean and its value driven processes have undergone phenomenal changes in a short space of time. For instance, lead times have been reduced significantly so that medical doctors can get critical information a lot faster. What’s more, healthcare professionals are able to achieve this without hiring more staff, increase space or incur huge capital outlays. This will not only result in an immediate impact, but patients will be serviced much better and faster.
When changing your work environment to lean healthcare facility, you will need passion for the improvements to be successful. This passion can come from a dedicated team of workers who understands the importance of satisfying patients needs with high quality and speed. After implementing lean methods successfully, you can be sure that the changes will be sustainable in the long term.
Implementing Lean Methods
Perhaps the main reason why lean fits perfectly in healthcare is because the workers in these facilities are used to changes. These workers have to adapt to new processes, tools, regulations and technologies constantly. This means that they will be willing to learn new ways to improve patient care.
It’s important to control costs in healthcare, but patient care, service and quality must always be the number one priority. With patients increasing dramatically and the cost for improved technology continuing to go up rapidly, administrators in healthcare facilities have to use less to accomplish a lot more. This is why it’s important to implement lean healthcare methods to bring in measures for cost savings.
Lean is focused on improving processes and activities rather than cutting assets and the workforce. For any organization or business to get better, there must be measures in place to eliminate wastes and create more value without resorting to huge capital outlays and adding staff.
When implemented correctly, lean will eliminate wasteful activities so that the staff and professionals at hospitals, clinics and labs can focus more on the activities that will add value to patient care. There is no doubt that lean healthcare organizations can overcome the challenges which various facilities are dealing with today.