Lean healthcare is a subject that is becoming more and more commonplace and this is good news for each and every one of us.
Last year I attended the The Lean Enterprise Academy Summit. This Summit is always an amazing event – 3 days packed with presentations, learning sessions and masterclasses solely focused on Lean and the immense business and personal benefits a Lean culture brings.
My 2 favourite sessions were from industries both based in Barcelona. The first learning session introduced us to Augustin Tena Leon (Head of Sales, 365 Cafe) and Oriol Cuatrecasas (Founder and Lean Development – Instituto Lean Management). My previous blog post ‘The Virtual Gemba Walk in Barcelona’ outlines the incredible work Cafe 365 have done on their Lean journey.
The second learning session was from Dr Miguel Sanchez, Head of the Accident and Emergency department at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona
From the beginning of his presentation Dr Miguel Sanchez showed immense passion for the Emergency Department he works in, the work he does, his team and the Lean journey they are on. His passion was obvious as he spoke about the improvements they had made and was equally evident when he spoke about where level 3 of the Emergency Department was before they started on their Lean journey and all of the problem they originally had.
This was very impressive as for Lean to be successful you need to be as interested in your problems as you are in your proposed solutions. Human nature sends us running at the speed of light to solutions before we even know what the real problem is and before we have taken time to investigate exactly why (root cause) the problem is occurring.
Oriol brought us through a simulation to show how chaotic the A&E department was before they started their Lean journey. We split into teams of 4 hospitals with the quest to see how many patients we could get through the hospital process. We were all given ‘imaginary’ jobs, titles, tolls, instructions and 8 minutes.
As the simulation progressed the process and the people started to fall apart and chaos set in! Patients continuously flowed into the hospital, the administrator got stressed and confused, the blood and urine analysts started shouting that they needed to get more patients in, the patient discharge person was frustrated as they weren’t very busy. The doctor who had to sign off on all the tests were stressed and frustrated at the level of repeated analysis required, seeing patients many times and the overall chaotic conditions under which they were working. At the end of the 8 minutes everyone was stressed. Does this sound familiar? Is this how your workplace works?
What was the problem?
As mentioned above, everyone started diving straight into solution mode – ‘I know what’s wrong’ ‘I know how to fix it’ ‘Let’s do this , let’s do that!’!!! Keep in mind this is a room full of Lean practitioners who had just created immense Lean waste and gone against every lean principle we had ever learned.
Now we had felt the stress and frustration that by Dr Miguel Sanchez’s team experienced on a daily basis it was time to see the results of their Lean journey.
The results were absolutely amazing, thanks to Dr. Sanchez and his team, the A&E department was transformed and reduced the patient waiting time by 44%. That is a phenomenal reduction in patient waiting time. If you work in a hospital, can you imagine what this would do for your department, your patients, your employees?
They achieved this by some simple changes such as
1. One Doctor and nurse team
2. One medical cart per team
3. One computer and workstation per team
4. Assigned beds per team
These changes enabled the Accident and Emergency department to implement Standard Work, Flow, Visual Management and eliminate the immense amount of Lean waste that they had identified at the beginning of their journey.
The changes increased the patient throughput, enhanced the patient experience and also increased the safety and job satisfaction for all of Dr Miguel’s team.
Another fine example of Lean and the huge benefits is brings.
Could Lean benefit your A&E department or your workplace?
Keeping it Simple,
x x x