1. Lean Methology
In the early 90s, James Womack published «The machine that changed the world», a book that compiled the bases of a new work methodology that had been applied in the car manufacturing industry.
A japanese engineer called Taiichi Ohno devised a new way of managing car factories. It was quite a revolution comparable to Ford’s assembly line, transforming the management of resources by using only what is absolutely necessary for every project or process. It was about saving efforts by analyzing and constantly searching for elements that cause waste and unnecessary spending.
In «The Machine That Changed the World», James Womack highlighted 5 great benefits of Taiichi Ohno’s practices:
• Cost reduction. Optimizing production processes leads to eliminating unnecessary expenses and developing new services and products more quickly.
• Teamwork. Employees are encouraged to feel part of the entire process and their empathy and dedication to the company is improved
• Reduction of deadlines. Eliminating tasks that do not add value to the end customer and improving the coordination of work teams leads to reduced execution times.
• Risk reduction. Decisions must always be based on evidence and not on judgments to be effective at a strategic level.
• Customer satisfaction. It is about conducting your actions based on the needs of customers and creating a minimum viable product that meets their expectations and from there, improving it by having more resources and time.
Despite the results of this management revolution, it was not until 2011 that this philosophy became a worldwide phenomenon, especially among start-ups.
It was then that this new methodology was baptized as «Lean», and today it has become the standard of efficiency and excellence in practically any industry.
2. Lean Healthcare
Hospitals are, without any doubt, the most complex organizations to manage that exist. Inside those buildings, lots of processes and workflows occur simultaneously, involving all kind of professionals from different specialties, a large number of providers, the patients and their families.
To this we must add that in hospitals we are dealing with people’s health, which makes them very emotional and stressful environments with changing priorities and constant unforeseen events that make their management even more difficult. In this context, it is natural that the lean methodology has also made its way to the health sector, being «lean healthcare» one of the great trends of recent years.
To implement a lean methodology, it is necessary, first of all, to measure continuously. Just as we must base on medical tests when making a clinical diagnosis, it is necessary to do the same with hospital work processes and patient flows. For this, it is key that the data we use for the analysis are reliable and truthful.
Once we have the metrics, we can analyze the processes to find points of improvement and inefficiencies. And from there, redesign them to streamline them and eliminate everything that does not add value to daily work.
Carrying out a lean transformation is a complex process that must involve all stakeholders from the beginning. This is absolutely key to the success of the project. The idea of vertical management where each department goes on its own should be abandoned, and a horizontal work methodology should be embraced. All personnel are key to the application of this philosophy. For example, porters are the engine of the processes that surround patients, since they are the ones who move them from location to location and it is vital that they get involved from the beginning.
3. Lean Healthtech
The true key for Lean methodology to have reached hospital management lies in the help that technological solutions can provide today.
At MYSPHERA we have been innovating for 10 years so that hospitals can undertake a transformation of this type and that health professionals dedicate their time to patients, freed from administrative or coordination tasks.
We have built our solutions on a measurement tool, a Real Time Location System (RTLS) for patients that continuously tracks their movement in order to analyze their flow within the different clinical processes.
From there, we work side by side with hospitals to analyze, simplify and redesign their processes. We offer the information and utilities they need, when they need it and where they need it. And finally, we automate processes based on automatic tasks that are launched when specific events occur, such as a transfer task when a patient is ready for surgery.
In this way, we have achieved that several European hospitals successfully carry out a transformation that has led them to the following improvements in accordance with what is expected of the lean methodology:
• Cost reduction: More than 2 million euros in savings in just one year for a surgical block with 21 operating rooms.
• Teamwork: A quieter and more coordinated environment thanks to accessible information and automatic tasks.
• Time reduction: Increased surgical performance by more than 12%. Increased the number of surgeries by more than 16%. 3 hours a day saved for the nursing team. Late starts reduction by 35 minutes.
• Risk reduction: Accurate and reliable identification of patients to avoid human errors. Realiable data that improves planning and bottlenecks detection.
• Patient satisfaction: Reduction of stress caused by long waits and relief for the relatives of patients who have information about their loved one through an app or information screens.