Process Redesign for Health Care Using Lean Thinking is a response to a simple, but hard to answer, question and is the result of the experiences of a working doctor who was also the chief safety and quality officer of an Australian teaching hospital. At this hospital, he observed that the Emergency Department was staff by talented, well-trained, and respected doctors and nurses. The facilities were modern, and the work load unexceptional, but the department was close to melt down. Bad things were happening to patients, everyone was blaming each other, lots of things had been tried but nothing was getting better and no one could explain why. The problem was not a lack of technical knowledge or expertise, the problem was that no one stood back and said, “what’s the best way to move 200 or 300 patients a day through the complicated and varying, sequence of steps needed to sort out the many different problems that bring patients to our department?”
These challenges are faced by hospitals and health services all over the world. There are difficulties with patient flow, congestion, queues, inefficient utilization of resources, problems engaging clinical staff in improvement programs, adverse incidents, and budget constraints.
Lean thinking and value stream analysis gives hospitals and health services struggling with these issues the insights they need to help themselves. This book provides a method that systematically turns those insights into working programs of service and system redesign.
The book is divided into two sections. The first section gives the background to the approach, and systematically works through the Process Redesign methodology, step-by-step. The second section is a series of case studies that show the methodology in action, what worked and what didn’t work. The goal of any process redesign is simple: the right care, for the right person, at the right time, in the right place, and right the first time. This book helps the people who work in hospitals and health services realize these goals by working together.