5 Ways to Leverage Lean Tools in Your Medical Practice

Posted on Posted in Medical Practice

1. Develop Your Value Stream Map: Take a look at the patient experience from the patient’s perspective. A value stream map will provide a comprehensive view of how the patient flows through your clinic and derives value from the experience. It provides the user with a high level view of not only the patient flow, but also the different types of information and material flows used to complete the patient visit. This is a good starting point used by many to identify any one of the 8 wastes of Lean.

2. Create Standard Work: Creating standard work documents for your most frequent processes can have a big impact on the flow of the day. It’ll provide everyone involved with the same understanding of how work should be completed for the most frequently encountered situations. In addition, it will make identifying variations and work-arounds easier to spot in the day-to-day flow of clinic operations.

3. Implement a Daily Management System: Keep track of your average patient wait times, daily volumes, key issues that arise affecting the patient experience and other key metrics on a daily management huddle board. Use a standard format at the beginning or end of a shift to discuss with your team the daily activity within the clinic. This can be an effective way to drive change in processes, garner buy-in from team members and create a better overall experience for your patients.

4. Complete a Waste Walk: Use the 8 wastes of Lean, (Defects, Overprocessing, Waiting, Not Using the Appropriate Talent Level, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Extraprocessing), to identify areas in your medical practice that experience these wastes. Use tracking tools to identify how frequently they occur and go after the most prevalent waste first using your daily management system to track progress.

5. Deploy Visual Communicationr: Find ways to visually signal that the patient is ready to move to the next step in the patient visit. For example, once the patient arrives for an appointment and has been checked-in, one way of signaling staff that the patient is ready to move back to the exam room is by placing the patient’s chart in a specific location.

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