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Tuba Karim 1/31/18PM835-Lean Management Assignment 1The concept of lean thinking may have originated from Toyota Production Systems, but its applications in healthcare have brought much needed change to the healthcare system, as was exemplified by ThedaCare and Virginia Mason and their success with lean implementation. The most important takeaways from lean healthcare are that it brings back focus to the patient, eliminates waste, and minimizes the time to treatment. Improvement efforts focus on quality, cost, safety, delivery, and people. The principles of lean thinking start with leadership, culture, and processes. The core values in lean ensure that the patient is the number one priority above all. After implementing lean healthcare into their systems both ThedaCare and Virginia Mason showed great improvement. There are still problems, however, by redesigning the process by which they deliver healthcare ThedaCare and Virginia Mason saw a vast improvement in the number of medical errors, mortality rates, productivity, and employee engagement.  In order to bring about these improvements first the core processes of the organization need to be recognized which can be accomplished by creating value streams. Value stream maps can be crucial to understanding the organization’s current state, which can then provide insight into what the future value stream map should look like. Recognition of waste is a crucial part of lean management; eliminating waste increases value. The eight wastes being: defects, overproduction, waiting, not utilizing employees, transport, inventory, motion, and extra processing. Once key processes and and plans for the future have been made to eliminate waste the new processes can then be implemented. Implementation in lean involves Plan-Do-Study-Act whereby the processes can be tested on a smaller scale before being launched in the real world. Lean management illustrates focusing on patient care by making the patient the first priority. Every improvement and thought process is designed with the patient in mind. In the case of ThedaCare’s Collaborative Care Unit the team that designed the unit made sure at every step to question if the new design served the patient’s needs. Or in the Virginia Mason Production System model where the patient is at the top of the pyramid to make it clear that the patient is the primary focus. Lean thinking has been effective in bringing back the focus to the patient by eliminating waste and reducing time to treatment. The implementation of lean at ThedaCare and Virginia Mason has greatly improved quality of care with a marked increase in patient satisfaction. The lean system is not without its flaws and can be lacking in elegance, however, part of the lean healthcare ethos is to design better solutions now that can be bettered later.

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