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Measuring lean initiatives in health care services: issues and findings

Measuring lean initiatives in health care services: issues and findings Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss how a performance measurement system called “the flow model” is designed to measure changes towards lean thinking in health care services. Design/methodology/approach – The paper integrates literature from the health care sector and the lean production movement in order to understand whether lean thinking is applicable in healthcare and thereby identify key performance indicators that measure changes towards lean thinking in health care. The flow model is discussed in relation to this measurement framework. Findings – The paper finds that lean thinking is applicable in health care settings, and that the flow model is a suitable tool for following up these initiatives. However, it is argued that the flow model needs to be balanced with other measurements in order to receive a complete picture of lean performance. Research limitations/implications – The paper shows that the framework of measurements may be used in empirical research of assessing changes towards lean thinking in health care settings. Practical implications – The paper shows that health care practitioners may use the findings to develop measurements of the outcome of lean initiatives on existing care processes. Originality/value – The paper shows analysis and discussion of the application of an industrial concept – Lean Production – in health care services. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management Emerald Publishing

Measuring lean initiatives in health care services: issues and findings

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1741-0401
DOI
10.1108/17410400710717064
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss how a performance measurement system called “the flow model” is designed to measure changes towards lean thinking in health care services. Design/methodology/approach – The paper integrates literature from the health care sector and the lean production movement in order to understand whether lean thinking is applicable in healthcare and thereby identify key performance indicators that measure changes towards lean thinking in health care. The flow model is discussed in relation to this measurement framework. Findings – The paper finds that lean thinking is applicable in health care settings, and that the flow model is a suitable tool for following up these initiatives. However, it is argued that the flow model needs to be balanced with other measurements in order to receive a complete picture of lean performance. Research limitations/implications – The paper shows that the framework of measurements may be used in empirical research of assessing changes towards lean thinking in health care settings. Practical implications – The paper shows that health care practitioners may use the findings to develop measurements of the outcome of lean initiatives on existing care processes. Originality/value – The paper shows analysis and discussion of the application of an industrial concept – Lean Production – in health care services.

Journal

International Journal of Productivity and Performance ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 12, 2006

Keywords: Health services; Sweden; Lean production

References