Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Going Lean in HealthCare

Going Lean in HealthCare So what is meant by “lean thinking”? Simply put, lean means using less to do more.
Lean thinking is not typically associated with health care, where waste — of time, money, supplies,
and good will — is a common problem. But the principles of lean management can, in fact, work
in health care in much the same way they do in other industries. This paper presents a brief
overview of lean management principles, and provides examples of two health care organizations
that are successfully using lean thinking to streamline processes, reduce cost, and improve quality
and timely delivery of products and services.The core idea of lean involves determining the value of any given process by distinguishing valueadded
steps from non-value-added steps, and eliminating waste (or muda in Japanese) so that
ultimately every step adds value to the process.
To maximize value and eliminate waste, leaders in health care, as in other organizations, must
evaluate processes by accurately specifying the value desired by the user; identifying every step
in the process (or “value stream,” in the language of lean) and eliminating non-value-added steps;
and making value flow from beginning to end based on the pull — the expressed needs — of the
US hospitals can learn a lot from Indian doctors working in government hospitals , who are used to working on lean budgets ! In India, necessity is the mother of invention !

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