Lean Hospital – Which advantages does this concept have for the patients and employees?
LEAN hospital & LEANhealthcare is supposed to guarantee the most productive way of using time with wasting as little time as possible with omitting the re-doing of tasks from department to department within the hospital. It is all about saving as much time as possible to focus on the patients and their needs. The wastefulness, when it comes to unnecessary tasks, or the redoing of work that has already been done by others, should be avoided in order to use the time to contribute to working with and for patients. The patient is the focus, always. This concept has been implemented in the year 2000 in the United States of America. Any new hospital that opens works with the principle of LEAN Hospital.
These are the most important factors of LEAN Hospital:
Which needs does the patient have? Anything that contributes to the patients’ well-being and their satisfaction is put in the center of the customer orientation. At first, it is important to clearly define the needs of the patients, in order to be able to fully fulfill them. Here, it is essential to mention that it is not only about the patients at the hospital, but also about the health insurance companies, which finance the patient’s treatment and hospital stay. Furthermore, different departments of the hospital are to be put into consideration, which need to work with each other hand in hand, to coordinate patient data as well as employees, such as the emergency department of the hospital, which admits patients, as well as the administration or employees and doctors, who are responsible for deciding over and releasing patients.
Value Stream apprehension
This refers to the admission and the release of patients. No unnecessary actions should be taken which may delay these two procedures. This includes long waits for the patients, which should be avoided or shortened as much as possible, as well as any administrative tasks, which could possibly be omitted. The value stream management should be regarded, in order to create the best preconditions for the patients.
Two lean principles are important at this point: ‘Flow’ and ‘Rhythm’. If one optimizes a procedure in order to increase productivity, it is essential to make sure that the optimization does not conflict with the productivity of the procedures in other fields or areas of the hospital. LEAN Hospital has to be seen as a whole, which needs to work together as a whole system and takes all the procedures into account that it may be influencing directly or indirectly. No disadvantages should appear when optimizing parts of the system.
Service provisions led by needs
Meeting patients and employees’ needs at the right time, with the best quality, and the right quantity. – That’s what ‘service provisions led by needs’ is all about. It is important that tasks and competences are distributed well and given to the best possible employees who have the required skills. That way, the areas of responsibility can be distributed well and expert groups can be created. The main advantage is the fact that the departments can trust each other and their knowledge. Therefore, it is guaranteed that the most knowledgeable employees take care of the specific tasks. This “intersection function” and their service-level agreements, which decide about the distribution of patients within the hospital and the moving of patients to other wards, can ensure that no tasks are performed more than once and that there is no delay due to “interim storages.”
The Lean principle’s purpose is to make sure that improvements are long-term oriented, forward-looking, updated periodically and perfected. This includes constant improvements and optimizations of existing procedures. With the simplification of the work processing of certain sections of the hospital, the work rhythm and the working atmosphere are increased, as well as the employee’s motivation. It is important to make sure that employees work together as a team in order to provide the best working conditions possible and to verify those on a long-term basis to their advantage. These conditions are decided in team meetings and implemented immediately afterwards. The aspects mentioned in team meetings, for example, are those which may be improving the workflow and the satisfaction of the employees as a team as well as the improvement of the work environment. If those improvements are then implemented, the employees who enforced them as well as the specific department, which contributes to the enforcement of the improvement, benefit. It is essential that all employees contribute to the successful enforcement of the improvements in order to realize them and to make sure that they are enforced on a long-term basis, if not permanently.