Title: Lean thinking to change healthcare organisations: a case study to reduce waste and redesign services

Authors: Francesco Aggogeri

Addresses: Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Brescia, Via Branze 38, 25123 Brescia, Italy

Abstract: In the healthcare environment, quality systems have already provided significant results in organising procedures and human resources. However, the lack of managerial methodologies and knowledge sharing regarding best practices has limited the positive effects from new research and limited achievements. The lean approach can change healthcare organisations that adopt continuous improvement logics and can create substantial business results. This paper focuses on the development and application of lean principles in an oncology unit to increase the service performance levels while following and reducing waste, time, and non-value added activities. The study aims at improving healthcare processes within an oncology department, dealing with four types of cancer: breast, lung, head and neck, and gastric. The five principles of lean thinking were applied to identify the value from a patient's perspective and to follow the value stream. To achieve these ambitious goals, both basic lean tools and advanced techniques were implemented.

Keywords: lean thinking; lean services; healthcare services; modelling; discrete event simulation; plan do check act; PDCA; Ishikawa diagram; oncology departments; case study; waste reduction; service redesign; non-value added; breast cancer; lung cancer; head cancer; neck cancer; gastric cancer; patient perspectives; value stream.

DOI: 10.1504/EJCCM.2014.071958

European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, 2014 Vol.3 No.3/4, pp.196 - 211

Accepted: 12 Mar 2014
Published online: 25 Sep 2015 *

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