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Fast-Tracking Improvements in Emergency Department Operations With Lean Principles and Practice

White Papers

Lean Healthcare principles have proven to be an invaluable tool for hospitals and health systems seeking innovative approaches to accommodate volume growth, reduce waste, enhance value, and improve overall patient experience. The key tenets of Lean Healthcare include:
• Focus on processes that create value
• Eliminate waste
• Promote efficient flow
• Continuously improve processes and people

An operations management approach, Lean Healthcare evolves Lean applications from other industries into healthcare processes with the result being an intuitive, complete framework that incorporates toolsets, mindsets, and organizational commitment to a totally Lean operation.

Lean came to life from intensely studying Toyota’s success during the past 50 years after implementing an entirely new way of managing auto manufacturing. The resource-lite, customer-centric method focused on processes and skills development for their employees. Lean Healthcare modifies and disseminates Lean applications from other industries (and in some instances, de novo innovations) into healthcare.

More than any other areas of healthcare, emergency departments (EDs) have led the way to the adoption of Lean Healthcare. Ripe with opportunities for process improvement, mid-sized to large EDs struggle with a myriad of issues (e.g., waste, uncontrolled patient arrival time variations, and a wide scope of corresponding service demands) that result in long delays, poor patient flow, poor communication between ED staff and with other departments, process variations, poor space design, and much more. The results are patient dissatisfaction, high numbers of patients who leave without being seen, staff burnout, and overutilization of resources, along with work duplication— all leading to increased costs and reduced reimbursement from payers who closely monitor the value received for the dollars they pay.


To learn more about the benefit of using lean principles in emergency department operations, download the rest of this white paper below.