Title: Improving healthcare services: lean lessons from Aravind

Authors: Angel Díaz; Juan Pons; Luis Solís

Addresses: IE Business School, Ma Molina 13, Madrid, 28006, Spain. ' IE Business School, Ma Molina 13, Madrid, 28006, Spain. ' IE Business School, Ma Molina 13, Madrid, 28006, Spain

Abstract: Better healthcare operations are required to deal with issues of ageing population, increased costs and unmet demand. This paper induces, from an in-depth analysis of the operations of Aravind, the operational principles of early triage and lean practices that can be used to this end. Aravind, an Indian non-for-profit organisation that treats two thirds of its patients without charge, is the largest eye care provider in the world, with over 2.5 million operations performed and 20 million patients treated in the last 30 years. The methodology used is grounded on in-site primary data collection and on extensive secondary data analysis. Based on process and value stream map analysis, we identify the key lean practices of Aravind, and propose a conceptual model for the improvement of healthcare operations. The contribution of the paper is a grounded analysis of the applicability of established manufacturing lean principles to healthcare service operations.

Keywords: lean healthcare; services; operations; Aravind; value stream mapping; early triage; India; eye care; lean practices; conceptual models; lean manufacturing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2012.047907

International Journal of Business Excellence, 2012 Vol.5 No.4, pp.413 - 428

Published online: 14 Jul 2012 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article