Lean Healthcare

Lean thinking may have been born in Toyota in the 1950s and 1960s, but it wasn’t until after the year 2000 that a few hospitals began to explore its application to the healthcare industry (lean healthcare). These pioneering organizations came together to share their stories at the first Global Lean Healthcare Summit in the UK in 2007, which in turn triggered many more experiments around the world. Since then, interest has kept growing.

Some fifteen years on, we have hundreds of examples to learn from, from clinics and departments through to entire hospitals and even whole hospital systems. Not all early experiments succeeded, and we are still a long way from making lean a widely recognized way of working across the industry.
Healthcare providers around the world still face huge challenges, as ageing populations and unhealthy lifestyles boost the demand for healthcare faster than the growth of incomes and tax revenues from the middle classes. At the same time, the quality of care has not improved as much as the quality of other services in the economy, which is why more and more healthcare organizations are turning to lean.

Historically, lean healthcare ideas have been applied in large hospitals, but in the past few years we have started to see the philosophy adopted in earnest in many smaller organizations following a do-it-yourself approach that has generated many positive benefits. An impressive example is the Consorci Sanitari del Garraf near Barcelona.

Webinar: 5 guiding principles to transform healthcare

WEBINAR - The Lean Healthcare Initiative teams presents the results of their research and provide five guidelines to successfully transform healthcare organizations.

How we made our microbiology lab Covid-ready

FEATURE – When the number of Covid-19 cases skyrocketed in the Italian region of Piedmont, this microbiology lab had to find a way to increase its capacity to process swab tests. Here’s how they did it.

Anticipating the Covid-19 storm

NOTES FROM THE (VIRTUAL) GEMBA – In the last of her series of virtual gemba walks, the author learns how a hospital in the Caribbean island of Martinique relied on Lean Thinking in its fight against the Coronavirus.

Webinar: lean healthcare vs the Coronavirus

WEBINAR – Last month, the Lean Management Instituut in Holland organized a webinar to discuss the response of lean healthcare organizations to the Coronavirus. Today we are repurposing for you all.

Lean healthcare practitioners on fighting Coronavirus

FEATURE – How did lean healthcare organizations respond to the most critical stage of the epidemic? We asked three hospitals in Catalonia and Toledo to share their experience. 

Fighting Covid-19 with lean healthcare

FEATURE - A Lean Global Network team of lean practitioners and coaches shares a set of lean healthcare tips hospitals can apply today to ready themselves for the peak of Covid-19 cases. 

Lean healthcare on the front lines

FEATURE – Our coverage of the Covid-19 emergency continues with an article discussing how lean healthcare principles can support and protect the professionals at the front line of this war.

Lean helps save lives in South Africa

FEATURE – Only when we go where the action is, do we begin to truly understand the work. Rose Heathcote joins the Emergency Medical Services in Cape Town for a day.

Taking the lean leap in private healthcare

INTERVIEW – A private healthcare group in South Africa has carefully studied the unique challenges it faces and customized its approach to improvement accordingly, embarking on a lean journey to better patient care.

Daily management in the ICU

CASE STUDY – Effectively deploying and executing your strategy requires mastering quick follow-ups at different levels of the organization – in other words, Daily Management.

Through hardship to the stars

CASE STUDY – Catalonia's largest hospital is undergoing a successful transformation - supported by pioneering hoshin experiments - that has already turned it into a poster child for lean healthcare in the region.

What sustainability looks like

OPINION – The team at Instituto Lean Management in Barcelona comments on recent news from the Catalan healthcare sector and reflects on lean sustainability.

Reflecting on our lean healthcare journey

CASE STUDY – The CEO of a hospital in Johannesburg looks back to the last five years to reflect on a lean healthcare transformation that is creating positive outcomes for patients.

Kata in the NHS

CASE STUDY – Starting with a series of pilot sites, the NHS is hoping to engage the Kata coaching approach to really spread an improvement culture to staff and patients. 

Our new, leaner Cancer Center

FEATURE – The renovation of one of its departments gave a hospital in Italy the perfect opportunity to redesign his oncology care with lean healthcare principles in mind.

Learning A3 thinking to become a better doctor

FEATURE – A student in a medical school recently completed a rotation based on A3 thinking. She tells us what learning to use this problem-solving method has brought her.

Teaching A3 skills to medical students

FEATURE – Problem solving is a fundamental part of being a leader, which is what led this medical school in the United States to include A3 thinking in its curriculum. 

The hands of many

FEATURE – A dedicated pathway and the introduction of lean healthcare principles is bringing people together to provide better care to older, frail people in an Irish hospital group.