Evaluating the Impacts of Lean Management Practices in Healthcare via Simulation

Evaluating the Impacts of Lean Management Practices in Healthcare via Simulation

Antonio Calogero (University of Calabria, Rende, Italy), Francesco Longo (University of Calabria, Rende, Italy), Letizia Nicoletti (CAL-TEK srl, Rende, Italy) and Antonio Padovano (University of Calabria, Rende, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/IJPHIM.2017010101

Abstract

Lean management has proved to be the preferred way of managers who strive for achieving performances comparable to that of the Toyota Company that firstly applied the “no wastes” philosophy. In healthcare, managers look at reducing the patients' waiting times and management costs, increasing productivity and optimizing the resources allocation. In order to build consensus about the effectiveness of lean practices, two simulation models representing the two costliest departments of a public healthcare facility in Southern Italy (an Elective Surgery Department and the Intensive Care and Resuscitation Unit) have been developed. The simulation models have been equipped with built-in functions capable of implementing different lean policies (e.g. 5S method, visual management, kanban method, pull system) which supports planning and patients' scheduling activities. Simulated results ensure managerial advantages (e.g. resources' utilization levels), savings (e.g. overtime costs) and improved customer satisfaction (e.g. patients' waiting times and waiting lists' lengths).
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Lean Management And Simulation: A Literature Review

Hospitals and healthcare facilities in general, are undoubtedly in a financial bind because of the increasing pressure to increase their profitability and reduce their costs. Although lean principles have been largely applied in manufacturing plants, it was a common understanding, until a few years ago, that such practices, designed for manufacturing, were not transferable to healthcare and that an increase in efficiency would result in a reduction in the quality of medical care provided to patients.

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