The Lean business management approach is used widely in healthcare organizations because cutting waste from health care delivery is not just a nice idea; it is an urgent imperative. Healthcare organizations are under tremendous pressure to provide the highest quality care for the lowest cost possible.
When resources are strained, Lean is a powerful solution.However, implementing the Lean philosophy in a way that gets results isn’t simple. The organization must come together around waste reduction and customer value. In order for it to work, every employee must be on board and engaged. Fortunately, there are tools to help healthcare organizations meet this aim, most notably Lean software.
Here are the functions that Lean software serves in a healthcare organization.
Positive change begins the moment an employee recognizes an opportunity for improvement. One of the most critical functions of Lean software tools is providing a platform for collecting and documenting each of these opportunities. The best solutions make it easy for any employee to submit a new opportunity. They have the capability of storing related documents and as much detail as available. Modern solutions are online, so they can be accessed 24x7 from anywhere.
Digital Huddle Boards
Huddle boards are common in healthcare organizations. Teams gather around a whiteboard or poster that shows the current state of any active improvement projects. Lean software for healthcare takes this concept into the cloud by providing digital huddle boards that can be more easily managed than their physical counterparts. Leaders can get a glimpse into the improvement efforts of the entire organization without walking from department to department. The historical record of improvement work is kept intact.
Workflow with Notifications and Alerts
Employees in healthcare organizations face many competing priorities, so it is imperative that improvement efforts are kept top of mind. Lean software has email alerts and notifications to ensure that forward progress continues and that managers are made aware of any stalls or obstacles that come up. The idea is to keep anything from falling through the cracks and to keep each team member fully engaged.
Well defined and measurable goals are central to the Lean methodology. Lean tools for health care provide impact analysis and reporting to help leaders ensure that the strategic goals of the organization are being met. Some projects will have an immediate, measurable impact, while others will take longer to come to fruition.
Activity and Engagement Reporting
We mentioned earlier the importance of employee engagement throughout the organization. Lean software gives leaders the tool they need to measure the health of Lean culture within the organization. They can drill down into the activities of each individual, team, and department to see where there is success and where additional leadership is necessary.
Cross-functional collaboration is key to the success of Lean in healthcare. The handoffs between departments are where many of the wastes of Lean can be found. Lean management software provides a common platform for improvement activities and gives team members visibility into what is going on across the organization. People in different functions can work seamlessly to tackle the most significant challenges.
Your Lean platform becomes the repository of knowledge for all of the lessons learned while doing improvement work. This creates one version of the truth that can be relied on to reflect the current state of each project and where it has been in the past. New employees can be brought up to speed quickly with one place to go for all they need to know about Lean.
Lean in healthcare tends to be like a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls down the hill. When people see improvement implemented and producing positive results they react by finding and acting upon more opportunities. Lean software helps both calculate the impact of each opportunity and broadcast those results far and wide. One positive change often inspires another. People also crave recognition and are willing to become emotionally engaged when they know their work will be appreciated.
Implementing the Lean approach in healthcare takes careful consideration and planning. However, if you choose the right Lean tools, you’ll find the results well worth the effort.