Nice story from here in the UK (where I am right now), about an NHS hospital in Liverpool reducing surgery patient backlogs and delays through Lean. From the article:
Surgeons, nurses, porters, managers, anaesthetists and admin staff got together to think of ways to shorten the patient journey for orthopaedic surgery at The Royal Liverpool Hospital.
This meant the number of planned operations taking place within 18 weeks of referral improved from 35% in April, 2007, to 88% in March, 2008. The number of patients waiting over 11 weeks for in-patient planned treatment fell from 261 to nine.
Theatre start times before 9am have been improved by 20%, and total cancellations have been reduced by 7%. Patient cancellations have been reduced by 30%.
The hospital has been working by the Lean method, which eliminates waste and improves efficiency.
Sounds like some nice teamwork and improvement. I'm nit picking on the reporter, but to give credit to the people at the hospital, the Lean method doesn't do anything. It's people using the Lean method, their drive, their leadership, and their creativity that eliminates waste and improves efficiency.
I'm hoping, in the future, I'll be able to publish or write about some of the work I'm doing over here.
I do have another publication coming out this summer, co-written by a colleague, about some Lean work at a hospital in Ontario, Canada. That will be in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Lean Yearbook 2008. I also contributed a piece to the SME 2007 Yearbook, which can be ordered here. When the 2008 book is available, I'll post about it here.
So back to the main point… Lean really is universal — across industries, across continents, and across cultures. It works! Or, I should say, the people make it work!
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