5 Things to Know About Lean Healthcare Workflows
MartinKeen 1200007VU3 Visits (12045)
Contributed by Jerry Green, Phd, Vice President of Applied Quality, at Phytel (An IBM Company)
Pressure from insurance providers to shift from volume-based payments to value-based payments continue to burden healthcare organizations trying to find ways to do both without increasing the cost of care. The question is; How do you do that? For many this activity seems like a daunting task. Just visit any hospital or clinic and look around. Everyone is extremely busy and in many cases overtime work has become the accepted norm. This form of status quo makes it difficult for medical staff to improve the value of a patient visit, while at the same time maintaining current levels of patient volume. By applying Lean principles medical teams can improve the quality of care without sacrificing volume and at the same time reduce the cost of care. Lean principles can help by reducing cycle time through waste reduction and the medical staff can be repurposed to work on activities that provide value. Both of these outcomes can be achieved while maintaining the desired volume of patients served.
Here are five things you can learn about applying Lean to healthcare workflows.
1. Always Lean first
2. Map the patient flowing through the value stream, not the workers
3. Conducting a value-add flow analysis identifies where process improvements are needed
Clearly, if the patient does not care about an activity, eliminating it would be a win for both the patient and the healthcare provider because it would not result in patient dissatisfaction and the process speeds up without it. If an activity does not change the patient or knowledge about the patient, eliminating the activity is not missed. Rework is always caused by a defect or error that when eliminated will likely result in higher patient and worker satisfaction and increased process capacity.
4. Don’t try to wow and then forget the basic needs
5. It all comes down to change management