The healthcare industry is facing a crisis caused due to a pressure on its resources. Hospital resources are stretched to the limit and this results in many unnecessary deaths as well as prolonged suffering to many patients. As a result, many hospitals are now starting to implement management techniques adapted from the ones that Toyota Motors and other Japanese car companies use with great success. A Lean hospital is a very well-managed place and patients treated here are unlikely to have problems caused due to oversights.
Lean thinking focuses on producing a high quality product at low cost; it places great emphasis on the elimination of waste. An organization that follows this management style encourages employees to keep looking for ways to improve work processes. It is an unfortunate fact that hospitals have a great deal of waste and this sometimes prevents patients from getting the best type of care. Doctors, technicians and nurses are overworked and equipment use is stretched to the limit.A lean hospital is a place where waste is eliminated by:
– Reducing the need to enter the same information on many different forms, thereby freeing up doctors’ time to actually treat patients
– Managing doctor’s time well by reducing the need for multiple rounding cycles by different sets of doctors
– Ensuring that only the right diagnostic tests are ordered, and having the information available to all doctors who need it.
– Streamlining the medical supplies maintained at different stations in the hospital
– Maintaining the hospital floors and stations properly so that no unnecessary material clutters it up. Doctors and nurses will therefore not have to waste time searching for things they need.
These are just some of the things that set a Lean hospital apart from a regular one. Each hospital will have to follow the right process in order to arrive at the necessary changes. It is necessary to set up teams of people from within the organization to work out the different changes that are required. There will be fewer medication and treatment errors in such a hospital. In addition, doctors, nurses and technicians will have a high degree of job satisfaction since they will no longer be overworked. Hospital equipment will also last longer since it will be utilized more efficiently than before. It is no surprise that increasing numbers of hospitals are adopting this style of management in order to improve their bottom line and service standards.