Here are some the differences that were discovered by organizations during the process of going lean in healthcare:
When using lean activities to transform a healthcare organization, the focus should be placed on the ones that will ensure sustained improvements. As mentioned before, lean can make a huge difference in the healthcare sector. For the most part, lean healthcare methods can help you to achieve financial and operational goals but it must be applied sensitively to deliver successful results.
For instance, any mistake made whilst implementing lean in manufacturing might increase the risks of accidents and result in a slight reduction in profits or productivity. However, if you make similar mistakes in the healthcare setting this could seriously impact patient safety and attract a lot of media attention.
This scenario will become more complex because patient pathways usually overlap and interact differently from the value streams in manufacturing. Patients often switch between specialties and pathways, depending on their treatment plans and specific needs.
Furthermore, the need to balance the available finances and resources with clinical concerns such as appropriate medical practice and patient safety will make it difficult to manage these patient pathways and operational processes. There is also the uneasy balance between managers and senior clinicians to consider.
In conclusion, another big difference between lean healthcare and lean manufacturing would be the things which customers regard as Value Adding activities. For example, when healthcare professionals give advice and provide comfort to patients, this will be a value adding task. However, it cannot be translated to an equivalent activity in the manufacturing sector. There are additional resources available if you want to know more about lean in healthcare.