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How does lean work in emergency care? A case study of a lean-inspired intervention at the Astrid Lindgren Children's hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Mazzocato P, Holden RJ, Brommels M, Aronsson H, Bäckman U, Elg M, Thor J - BMC Health Serv Res (2012)

Bottom Line: These changes resulted in improvement because they: (a) standardized work and reduced ambiguity, (b) connected people who were dependent on one another, (c) enhanced seamless, uninterrupted flow through the process, and (d) empowered staff to investigate problems and to develop countermeasures using a "scientific method".Contextual factors that may explain why not even greater improvement was achieved included: a mismatch between job tasks, licensing constraints, and competence; a perception of being monitored, and discomfort with inter-professional collaboration.This knowledge may enable health care organizations and managers in other settings to configure their own lean program and to better understand the reasons behind lean's success (or failure).

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. pamela.mazzocato@ki.se

ABSTRACT

Background: There is growing interest in applying lean thinking in healthcare, yet, there is still limited knowledge of how and why lean interventions succeed (or fail). To address this gap, this in-depth case study examines a lean-inspired intervention in a Swedish pediatric Accident and Emergency department.

Methods: We used a mixed methods explanatory single case study design. Hospital performance data were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and statistical process control techniques to assess changes in performance one year before and two years after the intervention. We collected qualitative data through non-participant observations, semi-structured interviews, and internal documents to describe the process and content of the lean intervention. We then analyzed empirical findings using four theoretical lean principles (Spear and Bowen 1999) to understand how and why the intervention worked in its local context as well as to identify its strengths and weaknesses.

Results: Improvements in waiting and lead times (19-24%) were achieved and sustained in the two years following lean-inspired changes to employee roles, staffing and scheduling, communication and coordination, expertise, workspace layout, and problem solving. These changes resulted in improvement because they: (a) standardized work and reduced ambiguity, (b) connected people who were dependent on one another, (c) enhanced seamless, uninterrupted flow through the process, and (d) empowered staff to investigate problems and to develop countermeasures using a "scientific method". Contextual factors that may explain why not even greater improvement was achieved included: a mismatch between job tasks, licensing constraints, and competence; a perception of being monitored, and discomfort with inter-professional collaboration.

Conclusions: Drawing on Spear and Bowen's theoretical propositions, this study explains how a package of lean-like changes translated into better care process management. It adds new knowledge regarding how lean principles can be beneficially applied in healthcare and identifies changes to professional roles as a potential challenge when introducing lean thinking there. This knowledge may enable health care organizations and managers in other settings to configure their own lean program and to better understand the reasons behind lean's success (or failure).

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Related in: MedlinePlus

I-chart for waiting time to see a physician. Special-cause variation is identified based on the decision rules: Any single data point outside the 3σ limit; Nine consecutive points fall on the same side of the pre-lean baseline.
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Figure 2: I-chart for waiting time to see a physician. Special-cause variation is identified based on the decision rules: Any single data point outside the 3σ limit; Nine consecutive points fall on the same side of the pre-lean baseline.

Mentions: The I-control chart in Figure 2 indicates a systematic decrease of the waiting time to first physician assessment following week 53. The systematic change is indicated by several runs of nine consecutive data points falling on the same side of the pre-lean baseline. Significant improvements were also detected, based on the same rule, before the lean intervention, at weeks 30-33. There is also one case, during week 116, of a greater than 3σ-above baseline increase in waiting time followed by a steady return to lower waiting times.


How does lean work in emergency care? A case study of a lean-inspired intervention at the Astrid Lindgren Children's hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

Mazzocato P, Holden RJ, Brommels M, Aronsson H, Bäckman U, Elg M, Thor J - BMC Health Serv Res (2012)

I-chart for waiting time to see a physician. Special-cause variation is identified based on the decision rules: Any single data point outside the 3σ limit; Nine consecutive points fall on the same side of the pre-lean baseline.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3298466&req=5

Figure 2: I-chart for waiting time to see a physician. Special-cause variation is identified based on the decision rules: Any single data point outside the 3σ limit; Nine consecutive points fall on the same side of the pre-lean baseline.
Mentions: The I-control chart in Figure 2 indicates a systematic decrease of the waiting time to first physician assessment following week 53. The systematic change is indicated by several runs of nine consecutive data points falling on the same side of the pre-lean baseline. Significant improvements were also detected, based on the same rule, before the lean intervention, at weeks 30-33. There is also one case, during week 116, of a greater than 3σ-above baseline increase in waiting time followed by a steady return to lower waiting times.

Bottom Line: These changes resulted in improvement because they: (a) standardized work and reduced ambiguity, (b) connected people who were dependent on one another, (c) enhanced seamless, uninterrupted flow through the process, and (d) empowered staff to investigate problems and to develop countermeasures using a "scientific method".Contextual factors that may explain why not even greater improvement was achieved included: a mismatch between job tasks, licensing constraints, and competence; a perception of being monitored, and discomfort with inter-professional collaboration.This knowledge may enable health care organizations and managers in other settings to configure their own lean program and to better understand the reasons behind lean's success (or failure).

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. pamela.mazzocato@ki.se

ABSTRACT

Background: There is growing interest in applying lean thinking in healthcare, yet, there is still limited knowledge of how and why lean interventions succeed (or fail). To address this gap, this in-depth case study examines a lean-inspired intervention in a Swedish pediatric Accident and Emergency department.

Methods: We used a mixed methods explanatory single case study design. Hospital performance data were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and statistical process control techniques to assess changes in performance one year before and two years after the intervention. We collected qualitative data through non-participant observations, semi-structured interviews, and internal documents to describe the process and content of the lean intervention. We then analyzed empirical findings using four theoretical lean principles (Spear and Bowen 1999) to understand how and why the intervention worked in its local context as well as to identify its strengths and weaknesses.

Results: Improvements in waiting and lead times (19-24%) were achieved and sustained in the two years following lean-inspired changes to employee roles, staffing and scheduling, communication and coordination, expertise, workspace layout, and problem solving. These changes resulted in improvement because they: (a) standardized work and reduced ambiguity, (b) connected people who were dependent on one another, (c) enhanced seamless, uninterrupted flow through the process, and (d) empowered staff to investigate problems and to develop countermeasures using a "scientific method". Contextual factors that may explain why not even greater improvement was achieved included: a mismatch between job tasks, licensing constraints, and competence; a perception of being monitored, and discomfort with inter-professional collaboration.

Conclusions: Drawing on Spear and Bowen's theoretical propositions, this study explains how a package of lean-like changes translated into better care process management. It adds new knowledge regarding how lean principles can be beneficially applied in healthcare and identifies changes to professional roles as a potential challenge when introducing lean thinking there. This knowledge may enable health care organizations and managers in other settings to configure their own lean program and to better understand the reasons behind lean's success (or failure).

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus