I'm watching a web presentation on improving patient flow from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). I'm doing lean healthcare work now and the IHI is an excellent resource, including Steve Spear, formerly of Harvard (and referenced by Mike Lopez earlier).
In the presentation, a medical doctor is talking about improving flow and reducing batching in the patient discharge process. He's generalizing, but he says:
“Industry no longer uses the batch concept. They no longer use the batch concept because it's inefficient, costly, and it doesn't take into consideration demand and capacity.”
Well, I'm glad that battle has been won ;-) Many factories and managers in the industrial world are still addicted to batches and addicted to their excuses for having them. Are you beyond batches? Or still addicted?
Some hospitals are adding a step to the discharge process, a “discharge lounge.” That sounds like yet another waiting room, but at the end of the process. The Cleveland Clinic has a brochure that talks about their waiting, I mean discharge, lounge. They go on to claim the process is “STREAMLINED” (their word, my shouting) by discharging ALL patients at 11 AM.
That's a huge batch process and, as the doctor from IHI would point out, that does not streamline the process. That batch process does not move the hospital and patients toward continuous flow. The IHI seminar is rightly arguing that hospitals need more continuous flow, not more batching.
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