Lean Hospital

If you run or even just work in a hospital it is likely quite clear that there are many things which can, and should, be done to help improve the way things run.  Unfortunately with a system which is as large and complex as a healthcare facility this can be difficult to do.  If you’re looking for ideas on how to improve both the profitability of the hospital and the satisfaction of patients, look no further than the lean concepts which are used in a variety of other industries.

The concept of a lean organization is that it helps to eliminate waste in a variety of ways, and though this you are able to also increase the overall profitability of the company.  When it comes to healthcare the lean strategies can be especially effective because you often already have several processes in place and well documented.  Everything from how an emergency room situation will be handled to the proper way to schedule a routine surgery can be reviewed from a lean point of view so that there can be improvements and optimizations made throughout the hospital.

Lean Hospital Strategies

You can put in lean hospital strategies just like you would any other process or project you are responsible.  The main difference is that rather than starting from scratch with a project you are simply reviewing an existing situation and attempting to improve it.  The end goal with each of these processes is to increase the value of what you are providing to your clients.  In this case the service you are giving is improved healthcare and the value you are providing is healthier patients with fewer repeat visits to the hospital due to complications.

Some people might wonder how it is possible to run a lean hospital because so much of what is done is unplanned for and unexpected given the nature of this type of work.  Even though you are not expecting any specific type of problem, however, you do know that there will be medical emergencies and that you will need to address them quickly.  This is a great place to start with your lean implementation.

Lean Hospital Standards

Since hospitals already have so many standards in place it is often a simple matter of optimizing existing documentation.  This is typically much easier to do than writing a new document from scratch so you can often make significant changes very quickly.  Start by finding out which types of services you provide most and then take them one at a time making as many improvements and optimizations as possible.

Remember to also look at the day to day tasks which do not involve actually treating patients because this is another important part of running a lean hospital.  Everything from the proper documentation of patient charts to performing the cleaning of rooms after a patient has checked out can be reviewed and improved.  You will undoubtedly be quite surprised at all the different areas of a good hospital which can be improved and result in significant benefits for both the hospital and the patients.

Additional Resources