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Using Lean tools to reduce patient waiting time

Using Lean tools to reduce patient waiting time This paper aims to address problems in patient flow and identify the reasons behind extensive wait time at a public liver transplant outpatient clinic in an education and research hospital through the use of Lean health-care theories.Design/methodology/approachThis paper opted for the application of Lean thinking and action research strategy. Data were collected through personal observations, interviews with users and team brainstorming. A value stream map was developed, improvement possibilities were identified and non-value-added activities were attempted to be eliminated.FindingsSignificant problems were identified and improvements were implemented and measured. The major remedial measures were: change the scheduling pattern, create a flow chart and a Kanban visual guide for medical students. In addition, an institutional change in the medical appointment scheduling software collaborated in the reduction of time and in the patient’s displacement. The waiting time was reduced by 4.5 h, and the per cent complete and accurate increased by 50 per cent.Practical implicationsThe flow was redesigned, and a culture of continuous improvement was introduced. Visiting the place where work was being done, leaders identified and created more value to the process without significant costs. The Gemba Walk was a powerful tool, interacting with people and processes in a Kaizen spirit.Originality/valuePublic health services in developing countries are one of the most deprived social needs of good practice. It will be useful for those who need examples about how to apply Lean tools in health care. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Leadership in Health Services Emerald Publishing

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References (20)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1751-1879
DOI
10.1108/lhs-03-2018-0016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to address problems in patient flow and identify the reasons behind extensive wait time at a public liver transplant outpatient clinic in an education and research hospital through the use of Lean health-care theories.Design/methodology/approachThis paper opted for the application of Lean thinking and action research strategy. Data were collected through personal observations, interviews with users and team brainstorming. A value stream map was developed, improvement possibilities were identified and non-value-added activities were attempted to be eliminated.FindingsSignificant problems were identified and improvements were implemented and measured. The major remedial measures were: change the scheduling pattern, create a flow chart and a Kanban visual guide for medical students. In addition, an institutional change in the medical appointment scheduling software collaborated in the reduction of time and in the patient’s displacement. The waiting time was reduced by 4.5 h, and the per cent complete and accurate increased by 50 per cent.Practical implicationsThe flow was redesigned, and a culture of continuous improvement was introduced. Visiting the place where work was being done, leaders identified and created more value to the process without significant costs. The Gemba Walk was a powerful tool, interacting with people and processes in a Kaizen spirit.Originality/valuePublic health services in developing countries are one of the most deprived social needs of good practice. It will be useful for those who need examples about how to apply Lean tools in health care.

Journal

Leadership in Health ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 18, 2018

Keywords: Total quality management; Management; Customer satisfaction; Public health; Health care

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