Lean healthcare tools and teachings for a lean hospital or medical facility
Lean Healthcare Tools
Some of the most popular six sigma and lean tools used most frequently for lean healthcare include:
Lean Healthcare and Lean Manufacturing
Lean Healthcare Tools are the same
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Tool Selection Matrix
Most Lean Healthcare Tools are the same
Just use the Service column on the Systems2win Tool Selection Matrix
to filter for the Excel templates that are most commonly used
in a Lean Service environment.
Lean Management is the same
Lean management systems are the same
The system for visual management is the same
(even though the specific visual controls vary greatly even within any given organization)
Definitions and teachings are the same
95% of Lean healthcare definitions and teachings can be applied to both
a Lean Manufacturing and a Lean Office environment without any modification
IF (and this is the big stumbling block)...
IF Lean authors, teachers, and practitioners use terminology that does not assume
that the thing being transformed is a physical inventory item
A lean healthcare value stream is just as likely as a manufacturer to employ lean concepts
Many or most Lean teachings come from the Toyota Production System —
which is why it is common for Lean practitioners to assume that the thing being transformed is a physical inventory item (like a car). But it doesn't have to be.
Literally 99% of Lean concepts apply to ANY industry.
Value Stream Mapping is the same
The purposes of value stream management are the same:
Depict processes in ways that make the deadly types of waste easy to see
Monitor and continuously improve key success metrics
Value stream mapping symbols and concepts are the same for a bakery or a bank
(and you can easily add custom shapes to your Systems2win value stream map template)
The process for value stream mapping is the same for home-builder, a hotel, or a hospital
See step-by-step instructions in the Help page on our free trial value stream mapping template
Unlike Lean Office...
Lean Healthcare and Lean Manufacturing both focus on
the central middle segment of the value stream.
Lean Healthcare and Lean Manufacturing
- If the process you are optimizing does not deal with inventory, then wherever you see the word "inventory" — substitute either the word "patient", "lab report", or the phrase "the thing being transformed"
- In addition to inventory... buffer and safety resources are more likely to also include:
- Cross-training and departmental borrowing
- Pre-trained workers available as needed (seasonal, retirees...)
- Pre-negotiated availability of extra rooms/beds
- Contingency plans
Lean in Healthcare "gotcha's"
- Don't invent your own vocabulary
Just because you sometimes need to substitute the words "patient" or "the thing being transformed" when you see the word "inventory" doesn't mean that it is a good idea to start inventing your own (non-Japanese) words for everything else you learn about Lean.
You will make it a LOT easier on your people if you teach them the same Lean definitions that are used in almost every Lean book that has ever been printed — instead of trying to "translate" for them by inventing your own vocabulary.
Standard lean tools can still incorporate Evidence Based Outcomes.
The standard Process Analysis template can be used to monitor any results — including Hospital Core Measures.
- Don't over-customize your templates too soon
Just because these Excel templates are so easy to personalize doesn't mean you should. The more that your people learn about how to apply the right lean six sigma tools and methods, the less different you will find that you really are. If you find yourself wanting to personalize a template, first consider that maybe you might be trying to use the wrong tool for the problem you're trying to solve.
Use the Tool Matrix to find the right tool. Or call us for help.
- Watch out for the Common Pitfalls
that everyone else needs to watch for, too.