LEAN Health care

Current State

The current health care system is under pressure from increasing demand, a shrinking workforce and budget constraints. The people working in the health care system are doing their best to provide safe patient care, however anyone working in the Australian health care system know there is a problem. Another reason the health care system is struggling is there has been no process design in the very complex health care systems. Staff generally provide excellent care when they see the patient, however delays and errors occur when the patient moves through the very large and complex health care facilities we call hospitals.

How Lean Health care can help

Lean is a methodology enabling staff to start to addressing problems daily to make the patient journey safer. Staff begin to not only make the patient journey safer, but start to remove the obstacles which cause frustration in their daily work.

Lean also provides a methodology for senior executives to align the many and varied departments, ensuring all hospital staff are focused on improving patient care every day.

Structural change

Ask yourself 2 questions –

1. How did you improve the patient journey in the last week at work?
2. How did you enable your staff to improve the patient journey?

Lean Health care provides a simple framework to answer these two questions. A simple 5 minute meeting and observing key measures is one way to enable you and your staff to improve the patient journey each day.

Cultural change

Hospitals are large organisations and a change to a continuous improvement culture can be a challenge. Leadership is the key element necessary to start and sustain the change. Winning the hearts and minds of staff is the hardest part of the improvement journey. Lean Health care helps leadership by providing a strategic framework to implement the changes. Lean enables culture change by empowering staff to improve the system daily.

Enabling tools

Lean Health care provides many tools to improve the patient journey.

  • Value Stream Mapping enables staff from different departments to see the patient journey, and remove obstacles from the journey.
  • Daily problem solving is the key to improving the patient journey. Rather than work around problems, staff can learn how to remove the root cause of problems so they do not keep reoccurring.
  • 5S enables staff to get control of their workplace and start to get staff time back with the patients instead of searching for supplies and stock.

There are several other lean tools which can be used where appropriate to improve the patient journey.


  • Lean can start to reduce patient length of stay to a time which is clinically appropriate for the patient.
  • Lean can reduce waiting lists up to 80%
  • Lean can reduced medication errors by 50%
  • Lean can free up staff time up to 40%
  • Lean can reduce administration processing times up to 90%


Discover for yourself how Lean Health care methodology and tools will improve your patients’ care.  To receive additional information call 61 (02) 9683 6200 or email admin@performancedrivers.com.au.


Performance Drivers Consortium nurtures world class capability and business performance. Meetings focus on the deployment of new and relevant operational performance improvement tools such as Lean Enterprise.

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