Lean Thinking in Global Health Care: Theory and Applications

Lean Thinking in Global Health Care: Theory and Applications

Kijpokin Kasemsap (Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Thailand)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0920-2.ch008
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This chapter explains the overview of Lean production; the overview of value stream mapping (VSM); the applications of Lean production in global health care; the implementation of Lean production in global health care; and the challenges and implications of Lean production in global health care. Lean production can be used to identify and eliminate the wastes in any health care activity performed within a health care facility. Lean production can be applied to hospitals and health care organizations to redesign health care processes toward improving the quality of care and reducing costs and wastes. Successful Lean health care efforts result in the measurable improvements in patient outcomes, such as improved quality, less harm due to preventable errors, better access, shorter waiting times, and better service. Implementing Lean production has the potential to enhance health care performance and gain sustainable competitive advantage in global health care.
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The Lean production concept was emerged on the Japanese manufacturing shop floor and was promoted through the success of the Toyota Motor Corporation (Womack, Jones, & Roos, 1990). The Lean production management design included among other things just-in-time (JIT), kanban method, and a high level of employee problem solving (Kollberg et al., 2007). Lean production is described in five elements: Lean manufacturing, Lean product development, supply chain coordination, customer distribution, and Lean enterprise management (Womack et al., 1990). However, several researchers have focused on Lean manufacturing because of its major impact on peoples’ work on the shop floor and manufacturers’ interest in these techniques (Hines, Holwe, & Rich, 2004). Womack and Jones’ book titled “Lean thinking: Banish the waste and create wealth in your corporation” published in 1996 described the concept of Lean production.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Lead Time: The amount of time, defined by the supplier, that is required to meet a customer request or demand.

Lean Production: The perspective focused on eliminating all wastes in manufacturing processes.

Health Care: The act of taking the preventative or necessary medical procedures to improve a person's well-being.

Continuous Improvement: The unbroken flow of improvement practically realized under a scheme, such as Kaizan and Lean production.

Value Stream Mapping: A method to keep track of products and material as they move through the product-creating process that helps a business enhance productivity and reduce wastes.

Method: An established and systematic process of achieving certain results with accuracy and efficiency, usually in an ordered sequence of fixed steps.

Process Improvement: The systematic approach to the closing of system performance gaps through streamlining and cycle time reduction, and identification and elimination of causes of unreliable quality, process variation, and non-valued-adding activities.

Just-in-Time: A strategy that exposes waste, makes continuous improvement a reality, and relies on total employee involvement.

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