Lean principles are customer-centered. These principles focus on continuously improving processes by innovating and streamlining them to maximize cost savings and quality simultaneously.
The overall goal of lean principles is to solve the common and ongoing problems of a system or situation by coming up with ideas and then choosing the best ones and implementing them. This process leads to a gradual and progressive improvement in the way things are done.
In healthcare, lean principles look to cut down on wasted time and materials while improving patient care. Lean principles help healthcare organizations meet their obligations to patients, insurance companies and in government-run systems, taxpayers, to keep costs as low as possible while still providing timely and effective patient care.
Why Go Lean?
Besides cost savings, lean healthcare can have many other benefits for providers and patients. One aspect of lean principles is the continuous improvement of all processes with analysis and testing, which can lead to innovations that are more effective or less expensive than existing methods.
Putting lean principles in place can also discipline employees to be more thoughtful in their methods, which can lead to advances that might not otherwise occur. It is possible to do more with fewer resources when a lean infrastructure is in place that encourages both lean processes and an openness to developing even better methods in the future.
The fact is, in many areas, healthcare costs continue to rise above the rate of inflation, and patients are having a more and more difficult time affording the care that they need. Lean principles are not just a nice idea but are needed to make health care available to those that need it most.
Lean Principles Change Systems
It isn’t easy to change an entire system or an entrenched way of doing things, but change happens. Making use of advances as they come to our attention is the only way to keep up with progress and avoid being left behind.
With lean principles, healthcare systems can use advances to keep costs lower and provide better patient care. Lean principles have been used to reduce patient wait times, see more patients in less time (without sacrificing quality), use space better, and increase patient safety, among other improvements.
CCSU is offering a lean healthcare certificate program to help healthcare leaders learn about lean principles and how they can apply them in their practices or clinical settings. Students will learn specific techniques like the Plan-Do-Check-Act Improvement Cycle, value stream and process mapping, mistake-proofing, and daily management systems, among other methods that implement lean principles in healthcare settings.