For the love of Lean!

Organizations love lean because it works when properly implemented. This implementation requires that the whole team be willing to look at healthcare through the lens of data and become reliant on data-driven decisions. Yes, this process improvement methodology came from car manufacturing, however, it is transferable when it comes to reducing inefficiencies and improving patient value with their healthcare being the end product. Lean has three key goals:

  1. Eliminate waste

  2. Value employees

  3. Continually improve

What is interesting about the three goals is that they work synergistically. You cannot meet one goal without meeting the other goals. Through the inclusive process of eliminating waste by focusing on non-value added activity; keeping inventory low by only storing what is needed when it is needed; embracing technology to provide data and reduce manual labor, valuing employees by developing people, and continuously improving by focusing on the root causes the synergy happens. Healthcare organizations across the country are learning to love lean as their awareness of the transformation in the way they look at the patient flow via data grows.

Recently the Infinitum Transformation Team was conducting a Value Stream Map Workshop, also known as the Transformation Acceleration Program or TAP Workshop. At the table was a representative from each work area discussing delay area 2 on their current state value stream map. One of the delays was that the "providers were running late." Through the 5-why root cause analysis it came down to the providers being late because the previous appointment took longer than expected. This happens, but upon further investigation, it was discovered that this happens frequently as in more than 50% of the time. The Infinitum Transformation Team walked them through the data mining process of figuring out their demand and capacity so that they are now scheduling patients within the appropriate time slots by creating service families; processes were reconfigured to meet the time limitations; and they learned how to create a demand chart from their data showing upper and lower control limits to address the patient demand variations with 98% accuracy.

Lean on lean; it's reliable! Contact us to learn how your organization can transform for the love of lean.


Dunn, Lindsey. "5 Key Principles for Hospitals from Toyota's Lean Production System." Becker's Hospital Review. 17 Sept, 2009. Web address: