HealthTeam Members Become Certified in Lean Management
A five day training program in Lean healthcare was recently held in Grand Rapids. This program was designed to teach participants how to apply the lean concepts and tools of the legendary Toyota Production System to healthcare applications. Toyota has had a company philosophy in areas of quality and human resources. They developed lean concepts to find ways to free up resources which would allow the company to grow. These lean tools and concepts can be applied across the healthcare continuum including hospitals, physician practices, labs and administrative services. Lean can be used to improve business so that we can become more competitive and grow, make the work safer and sustainable, and reduce waste and worker fatigue in our delivery of services.
Traditional healthcare has been delivered with many traits. These include:
- Requires patient initiation
- Not well coordinated by the patient or the physician
- Sporadic communication among clinicians
- Inconsistent patient education
- Variable process of care
- Clinicians’ opinions drive decision
- Systems do not prevent errors
- Outcomes not measured
The vision of future healthcare from the Institute of Medicine report “Crossing the Quality Chasm” is one in which care is:
Lean thinking gives us the tools and philosophy to get us from the traditional to the future.
MSU HealthTeam sent four staff for this valuable training. The participants were Lynette Budenaers, Vicki Curley, Sue Dolby, and Deb Doubrava. Values stream mapping, standardized work, A3 reporting and lean leadership were some of the principles and practices taught during the program. Our participants learned some key skills and strategies to successfully implement lean tools and concepts at MSU HealthTeam. Goals of implementing lean healthcare concepts are to obtain better results, improve quality, cost, and delivery of healthcare services. Tools can be used to identify and work to reduce forms of waste in healthcare such as:
- Errors that cause rework or liability risk
- Not utilizing the creativity of the employees
- Movement of materials
- Wait for lab tests or information
All participants, in addition to active participation in the five day course must pass a written test to become certified. MSU HealthTeam’s four staff will be a resource to teach the tools and concepts to the rest of the HealthTeam as we approach new challenges and problems to be solved.