Lean Thinking in a Health Care Organization - Developing Implementation Strategies and Methods



    Budget cuts, swelling operation waiting lists, procedures lengthened by technology, etc. In short, the Danish health care system is being pressured economically from all sides. Initiatives have been drafted and consultant reports have been commissioned, but to no avail. A fresh perspective on this system is sorely needed. Several major players in the automotive industry have posted astounding production improvement numbers after putting the tenets of ?lean thinking? ? management theory preaching less of everything ? to work for their firms. In collaboration with Skejby Sygehus, Aarhus University Hospital, the primary objective and research theme of this project is to investigate the feasibility of transferring some of the principles and methods from lean thinking to the hospital environment. Three case studies form the basis of this project. The first, an in-depth study of coronary bypass operations pivoting on pre-operative procedures, dictates the project focus. The bypass operation is well suited to this study because of the nature of this procedure, which requires patients to utilize services from a range of different hospital units at significant cost to the institution. Furthermore, bypass patients often require complex operations. This results in procedures of varying lengths and may have a negative impact on planning. However, by increasing efficiency within the same economic framework, which is the philosophy behind lean thinking, some headway may be made in addressing these problems. A major research question begs asking in this connection: Can lean thinking be implemented directly in a health care organization in its present form, or is it necessary to adapt various aspects of this theory or even develop a new conceptualization geared expressly to the unique hospital environment? In addition to the project?s empirical contribution ? the development and implementation of strategies and methods of lean thinking in a health care organization ? it also presents a unique chance to analyze the hospital from a new point of view. And if the results from other lean thinking projects can be transferred to the health care environment, then this project offers some potential advantages. CIP project group: Martin Laursen (Ph.D. researcher), Associate Professor Frank Gertsen (primary advisor) and Professor John Johansen (associate advisor) Project duration: January 2002 ? December 2004
    Effektiv start/slut dato31/12/200331/12/2003