Lean in a New Zealand E.R.
Here’s today’s positive blog post. For cynicism and negativity on a different Lean topic from yesterday afternoon, scroll down or click here. Be warned, the article I blogged about made me very crabby.
This is an article about a New Zealand E.R. that’s implementing Lean methods. After an intro about how some patients are tolerant of waiting times because of the care they receive, the article focuses on Dr. Kerruish’s efforts to change that:
He said it was important that this work, based on the Toyota vehicle manufacturer’s lean thinking methods, started in the emergency department because almost everyone in Dunedin had some contact with it at some stage, either as a patient or they were involved with a patient.
He hoped the project, which concentrates on reducing waste and getting all staff (not just doctors and nurses) to work together on solutions to problems, would help break down the silo mentality common to hospitals where the relationships between different disciplines were not always good.
He has a classic example of reducing waste by starting to work across department silos:
He recently found out by chance that patient wrist bands used in the emergency department had to be replaced with water-proof ones once patients went on to wards.
“We didn’t know they’d changed them. No-one told us and we hadn’t asked.”
The doctor saw the opportunity for what sounds like a GOOD application of 5S:
He especially wanted to reduce the time spent on what he called “treasure hunting” (looking for equipment) and unnecessary interruptions which disrupted his patient care.
And the doctor was focused on his staff:
More generally, he was looking forward to working in a less stressful environment, where people had time to be polite and friendly to each other, and patient care was central, he said.
Sounds like they are off to a good start!