Is Lean Healthcare the way forward?
It seems that every day, there is another news article about the state of the healthcare system in the United States.
Spiraling costs and an aging population are placing a heavy burden that is overwhelming the people and the systems, they use to deliver quality patient care. So the question is: Lean Healthcare â€“ Is it possible? In other words, can we use lean principles to improve healthcare, or any other system, for that matter?
The answer is â€œYes.â€ There are many examples of healthcare organizations that have successfully been implementing lean principles to identify issues and improve the quality of patient care. Â Here is a short video of an interview with Gary Kaplan, Chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Health System, where he explains how his healthcare organization has utilized the power of the Toyota Production System to improve their own processes and deliver the benefits direct to the patients.
Lean Healthcare – Is It Possible?
Â Applying lean principles in healthcare:
I always enjoy listening to positive information from someone that has actually been there and done it. So if you posed this question to Gary Kaplan: Lean Healthcare – is it possible? He would answer with a resounding “Yes, it is!” Why can I be so sure of this? Itâ€™s because anyone that has visited the Virginia Mason Healthcare facility will know the difference as soon as they walk into the building. I’ve been there and seen it for myself.
Applying lean principles:
Itâ€™s obvious when an organization is actually applying lean principles; however, it is equally obvious when an organization is doing nothing but giving lip service about implementing lean principles. Many organizations believe that they are lean but theyâ€™re unable to demonstrate any visual evidence of their existence. Lean principles in healthcare or any other business system must be seen and not just talked about. Actions speak louder than words, every time!