Can Lean Benefit Healthcare?

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Considering the origins of Lean are in manufacturing, one cannot be blamed for wondering how it can benefit other industries. But Lean works anywhere there is a process that provides value to the end user. And value can be provided to anyone, whether it is a consumer of manufactured goods or a patient receiving healthcare services.

So if you are wondering if Lean can benefit the healthcare industry, the answer is an absolute yes! As you know, the healthcare industry is extremely important, considering it is responsible for saving countless lives. With processes being improved in healthcare, it stands to reason that the number of lives saved will grow.

With that said, here are three ways Lean is benefiting the healthcare industry in big ways:

1. Increasing value-added processes for patients

Value in the healthcare industry can be quantified by the positive impact it has on the lives of patients. That means processes that add value in the patient’s eyes need to be improved to provide more value and those that don’t need to be eliminated. This is something that Lean does well, allowing healthcare providers to look at their processes from the patient’s perspective and make informed improvement decisions.

2. Enhances improvement efforts with the help of frontline staff

The only way Lean can work is if everyone is involved – everyone’s input is valued and considered. For upper management to make improvements that can increase both staff and patient satisfaction, input from frontline staff is invaluable. It allows them to go from reacting to problems reported by frontline staff to getting ahead of them by giving workers on the ground the power to suggest improvements.

3. Continuous improvement in healthcare

Lean stresses that process improvement isn’t a one-off project. This leads everyone, from frontline staff to upper management, to continually drive improvement initiatives. This increases their stickiness. This way, patients continue to see incremental gains in the healthcare they receive and healthcare providers see the same for their bottom line.

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