Doing More with Less

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Lean Thinking and Patient Safety in Health Care

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Foreword by Helen Zak, chief operating officer, Lean Enterprise Institute.

Beginning with an overview of how lean thinking developed and spread in manufacturing, this book quickly and—most importantly for healthcare readers who are not familiar with lean principles—clearly explains the key concepts of lean thinking and how they apply to healthcare.

Even better, Doing More with Less: Lean Thinking and Patient Safety in Healthcare offers specific examples throughout of how to translate the principles of lean thinking into the healthcare environment, and how leading hospitals are using the concepts to improve safety by eliminating the root causes of problems.

For instance, one hospital incorporated into its safety program the lean thinking concept of halting a production line when a problem appears in order to resolve the problem immediately. The hospital trained and empowered staff members to stop a process when they saw a problem, quickly assess the situation, and solve the problem at the source. If staff members cannot fix the problem right away, they call for help. In another case study, a hospital applied lean principles to successfully slash hospital-acquired infections.

But even before the case studies, the book uses healthcare examples to illustrate lean applications. For instance, Chapter Three uses many hospital examples to illustrate how the five steps of lean thinking apply to healthcare.

Chapter Four addresses head-on the resistance and misunderstanding surrounding the industrial origins of lean thinking and its difference from traditional management thinking. The book notes that any business is a set of processes that create value for customers -- or patients. It suggests that leaders use pilot programs, site visits to lean facilities, and staff involvement to demonstrate how using lean concepts to remove waste from processes will improve patient care and safety.

Three appendices offer valuable resources, including examples of how lean principles help health organizations meet specific Joint Commission standards.

Chapter 1: Origins of Lean Thinking
Chapter 2: The Five Steps of Lean Thinking
Chapter 3: Applying Lean Thinking to Healthcare
Chapter 4: Meeting the Challenges of Lean in a Healthcare Organization
Chapter 5: Case Studies
Appendix A: Lean Leaders
Appendix B: Using Lean Principles to meet the Joint Commission's Standard
Appendix C: Selected Resources


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