Quarterly scientific journal

The applications of lean management in modern healthcare

Dimitrios Kalogeropoulos , George Moussa , Alexandra Skitsou , Panagiotis Xenos , George Charalambous

Abstract

Emphasis on quality and reducing costs has steered many healthcare organizations to reform their whole philosophy changing their management, processes, and quality control infrastructures. Incidents and quality problems consist two of the main issues that indicate why health care leaders need to reform health care service. The evolution of production systems is closely associated with the story of Toyota Motor Company (TMC) that has its roots back in 1918. “Lean thinking” is one of the most revolutionary concepts that have been introduced. The term “lean” was coined in 1990 after the analysis of the Toyota model that led to the “transference” thesis supporting the idea that manufacturing issues and technologies are universal in all production systems and that these concepts can be emulated even in non-Japanese organizations. Lean is a versatile concept that urges organizations to increase their efforts in various levels at the same time. Some authors suggest that a successful implementation encompasses achieving main strategic components of lean, implementing practices to support operational aspects, or providing evidence that the improvements are sustainable in the long term basis. The implementation of lean principles and tools in healthcare has gradually led to a significant improvement in quality and efficiency. However, the transition to lean requires a substantial investment of time. This study investigates the challenges and opportunities faced by healthcare organizations that intend adopting a lean mentality.

Keywords: Lean management, improvement, quality, healthcare, waste

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