Aug 15 2013
One popular suggestion: replace a sticky combination lock with swipe-card entry. But that would cost too much.
Instead, on a consultant’s recommendation, supplies were rearranged. Blue masking tape outlines now show where each item is supposed to go. A sign lists the “five S’s” of workplace organization (sorting, straightening, cleaning (shine), standardizing, and service). Each shift, one nurse is supposed to check them off.”
I had seen articles bashing Lean from a union perspective in manufacturing, but this is the first one I see about hospitals.
On the one hand, the author thinks that the work processes cannot be improved, and that the only way outcomes can be is by new equipment or more people. On the other hand, the “improvements” she describes are definitely L.A.M.E. (Lean As Mistakenly Implemented) rather than Lean: 5S as the most visible change, curtailment of communications between outgoing and incoming nurses as shift change, or reduction in the skill level of heart monitor operators, etc.
If that is what “Lean Health Care” boils down to, she has a point. But what about the use of Kanbans to manage supplies, as described in the “Par versus Kanban” article I scooped on 8/13?
See on www.labornotes.org