The next level of Lean process for healthcare

Most hospitals have begun the Lean process improvement stage to eliminate waste, reduce travel distances, and minimize inventory, with varying levels of success. Here are three keys to creating a prosperous Lean program.

October 14, 2013 |
GS&P Dialogue

As an industry, the American healthcare system falls into three groups: those that embraced Lean principles early and persevered, those that tried and failed and quit, and those that are just waking up (better late than never). 

While the ACA and other reform measures are shifting incentives and establishing penalties in the marketplace, too many major healthcare organizations are taking the easy way out and laying off hundreds if not thousands of associates. While some layoffs may be necessary, there are still opportunities for new business models and deeper internal Lean efforts for providers to thrive once again.

Recognizing this, most hospitals have begun the Lean process improvement stage to eliminate waste, reduce travel distances and minimize inventory, with varying levels of success. A few have begun Lean Six Sigma, fine-tuning standard deviation measurements to the nth decimal point. However, decimal points will only get you so far; process improvement begins and ends with the people. Significant improvement is dependent on successful communication, widespread engagement and serious commitment, on every level, starting with the administrative suite. These are the things that make LEAN not just a buzzword, but an answer to healthcare woes.

Fine-grain process mapping

Lean process mapping begins with a large brush and broad strokes framing the continuum of care. However, the real art of improvement lies in uncovering the detail of each patient interaction and choreographing an optimal customer experience. 

Staying with the artistic analogy, a Lean effort begins with a Contemporary canvas but quickly moves to the Impressionistic period, with a fine-grain focus on each small dot comprising the whole. The current process should be dissected in sequential, layered process meetings beginning with front-line staff and working through clinical staff, nurses, and providers. It is tempting to dive right into optimization, but these meetings should focus on current processes. Only by thoroughly understanding the current system, with all of its barriers, bottlenecks, and missed communications, can you truly begin to optimize it.

Read the full post on GS&P Dialogue blog

 

 


About the author: Marc Sauvé is a Senior Healthcare Strategist at Gresham, Smith and Partners. He specializes in providing growth and development strategies to healthcare providers. An industry authority on future demand, Marc's book, This is Not a Drill, aims to educate all users of the healthcare industry regarding current and future trends.  He has delivered his presentation, "The Future of Healthcare in America," to audiences around the country. More posts bv Sauvé.

GS&P Dialogue | GS&P
Gresham, Smith and Partners

Gresham, Smith and Partners' blog, Dialogue, is about starting discussions. We want to get people thinking about issues and trends that are impacting the design services industry and the market sectors GS&P architects, engineers, interior designers, planners, consultants and environmental scientists serve. Great ideas are typically enhanced through conversation and often stifled by singular views and opinion. We hope you'll join in this conversation and help us to create a meaningful Dialogue. Visit http://dialogue.greshamsmith.com.

Related Blogs

A nurse station in a hospital with integrated artwork
October 10, 2017 | Designers | GS&PCarolyn Fleetwood Blake, LEED, AP, EDAC

With many hospital projects, art can be a construction-phase afterthought.

Terminal Modernization: Why Bother?
September 11, 2017 | Airports | GS&PWilson Rayfield, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

A terminal modernization program can be a complicated and expensive task that airport operators may be hesi...

Inconvenient meeting spaces, inadequate task seating, and frequent interruptions were among the key takeaways from healthcare designer Carolyn Fleetwood’s observation of a nurse during an eight-hour shift. Photos courtesy GS&P

August 02, 2017 | Healthcare Facilities | GS&PCarolyn Fleetwood Blake, IIDA, LEED AP, EDAC

From the surprising number of “hunting and gathering” trips to the need for quiet spaces for phone calls, i...

July 10, 2017 | Retail Centers | GS&PSteve Hohulin, AICP

The retail sector is charting unfamiliar territory as web sales and evolving tastes force a paradigm shift....

March 23, 2017 | Retail Centers | GS&PVanessa Newton

The retail sector is charting unfamiliar territory as web sales and evolving tastes force a paradigm shift....

January 23, 2017 | Architects | GS&PPhillip Petty

A branded environment has the potential to create a long-lasting impression for your intended audiences....

As UF Health North demonstrates, developer-driven projects can achieve the same high quality healing environments and design aesthetics as provider-driven projects.

December 13, 2016 | Healthcare Facilities | GS&PJames R. Kolb, RA, LEED AP

When entering a new market, the financial risk can be magnified to the point that the investment – although...

Vanderbilt University's Rand Hall offers ample indoor and outdoor dining space along one of the most high-traffic paths through campus. Photo courtesy of GS&P.

August 05, 2016 | University Buildings | GS&PPatrick Gilbert, AIA, LEED AP

Location, visibility, and adaptability are three important ideas to keep in mind when designing campus dini...

Images courtesy GS&P.

July 20, 2016 | Healthcare Facilities | GS&PRay Wong, AIA, NCARB, EDAC, LEED GA

Charting procedures and highlighting improvement opportunities can lead to developing effective design stra...

University of Florida Health Jacksonville. Images courtesy GS&P.

May 10, 2016 | Sustainable Design and Construction | GS&PCorie Baker, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC

GS&P's Corie Baker shows how to design and orient a building to efficiently collect or dissipate solar...

Overlay Init