For years, companies have used “lean” tools to simplify and streamline manufacturing and business processes. Now, hospitals are applying those same basic tools to increase efficiency, improve employee engagement and enhance performance in the health care setting.
At Carroll Hospital Center, we are transforming our organization into a Lean health care system. We have leaders who support the philosophy, and our Associates are excited to be part of this process improvement throughout all areas of the hospital.
Through hands-on Lean training workshops open to all staff members, we teach attendees how to identify and understand how work gets done and then how to systematically manage, improve and smooth the work flow and remove waste–all while upholding the quality care we give to our patients every day.
For example, we applied Lean principles in looking at our patient meal process in order to streamline the way we prepare patient meal trays. A team of front line staff analyzed our current work flow and made changes to improve the time it takes to prepare patient trays, improve the accuracy of those meals and to improve the food temperature.
Creating a Lean-thinking culture will help us achieve our vision of being the best place to work, practice medicine and receive care.
Marcea Cotter, R.D., L.D.N., is the director of Lean and Process Improvement at Carroll Hospital Center.