Lean design means doing more with less

For the Lean method to work, an efficient operational process must be supported by the physical space

By Healthcare Facilities Today
January 29, 2014

Hospitals seeking to eliminate revenue losses while simultaneously boosting process efficiency and patient care levels are discovering the benefits of Lean design for their clinical and nonclinical departments, according to an article on the Healthcare Design magazine website.

Lean design identifies and removes operational process waste.  For example, in a Lean facility, a patient may visit the doctor, get an X-ray, have it read, receive a diagnosis, and pick up medication from the pharmacy all in one visit.

Such efficiency may come from centralized check-in kiosks that allow a patient’s personal information to be shared throughout the entire visit, eliminating the repetitive hassle of filling out the same forms for each department. For staff, a reduction in paperwork means they’re freed up to do what they do best: take care of patients, according to the article. For the Lean method to work, an efficient operational process must be supported by the physical space.

Patients arriving at a Lean-designed clinic may be met by a triage nurse who immediately admits them to an exam room where they are then met by a registration person. After that, the caregiver comes by to assess and diagnose.  

“If we can get rid of patient waiting times in favor of improved throughput, then we make better use of the caregiver’s time,” says Roger Call, president of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health, and Lean expert. 

Improved Lean supply chains can benefit the bottom line. Andrew Wampler, Mountain States Health Alliance, recalled when Johnson City Medical Center had five nonstandardized, differently keyed supply closets. Two of the closets were located just outside the emergency department, which meant nurses had to leave the sterile ED in order to get to the closets, plus remember which key went to what closet. His solution involved repurposing a conference room located in the middle of the ED into a standardized supply closet.

Read the article.



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