FAQs

1. What is lean healthcare?

2. What are some examples of how lean has been executed successfully in the healthcare market?

3. I want to implement Lean, but the decision isn’t solely mine.  How can you help me persuade others to consider this?

4. Our healthcare facility is beginning to look into purchasing an Electronic Medical Record. How can lean assist us?

5. Can you help us implement a Patient Centered Medical Home?

6. Our physicians don’t have time during normal business hours.  Can you meet with us after hours or weekends?

7. Why do  you emphasize change management as much as Return on Investment to your clients?


Q 1: What is lean healthcare?

Lean healthcare is focused on eliminating waste through continuous improvement while always keeping the customer in mind. Waste is defined as non value-added activities (or inefficiencies within the process) that the customer is unwilling to pay for. Typically, in healthcare, the ultimate customer is the patient, but sometimes there are internal customers such as nurses, physicians, and other members of the staff. Over the last decade we have started to pay close attention to the amount of waste in healthcare. Early on many believed that approximately 30% to 40% of work in healthcare was waste or non value-added activity. Now, some experts believe that number to be as high as 60%.The purpose of lean healthcare is to eliminate waste from a process; it is not meant to eliminate people, but to use them more wisely and efficiently.


Q 2: What are some examples of how lean has been executed successfully in the healthcare market?

We have an exceptional track record of implementing lean healthcare across the continuum of care.  Our hospital success stories include reducing the length of emergency department visits, lab and x-ray turnaround time, and the time it takes to clean and prep a patient room.While physician practices offer different challenges, our success stories are just as impactful by reducing patient wait times, reducing supplies, standardizing work for providers and redesigning patient flow.


Q 3: I want to implement Lean, but the decision isn’t solely mine.  How can you help me persuade others to consider this?

If you think it would be beneficial, a member of our team could meet with you and other decision makers to outline how Lean Fox Solutions can introduce lean management to your organization. We believe that hospitals, clinics and physician practices of any size can reduce expenses, enhance their revenue and improve the patient experience by removing non value-added activity from their processes. We have assessed, identified and streamlined how providers, staff and technicians impact the patient experience. The results are higher patient satisfaction scores, less staff overtime, and reduced patient total experience time by removing waste from the process.


Q 4: Our healthcare facility is beginning to look into purchasing an Electronic Medical Record. How can lean assist us?

Lean thinking can assist in the selection, implementation, and adoption of EMRs for physician practices and hospital systems. Before selecting and deploying an EMR, you really need to assess the current process flow first. Too often we introduce software systems to get us out of a paper mess and simply end up with an electronic mess that is less flexible. Prior to selecting an EMR, we recommend that our clients fix the process first, and then use software where it adds value. Your organization has specific characteristics and behaviors that make your business unique.  You need to fully understand them before committing to an expensive software system that won’t or can’t adapt to your organization.


Q 5:  Can you help us implement a Patient Centered Medical Home?

You want your practice to provide the best possible care while maximizing efficiency and profitability. Creating a PCMH includes providing patients with improved access to care through strategies such as open scheduling, expanded hours of operation and the use of alternative communication methods like email and twitter (social networks?). Lean thinking can assist you in making that transition to PCMH.


Q 6: Our physicians don’t have time during normal business hours.  Can you meet with us after hours or weekends?

Absolutely. We realize that our clients don’t work the typical 9-5. In fact, we have even met with one of our orthopedic practices after hours at their favorite place to unwind after surgery, a local Coney Island restaurant.


Q 7. Why should healthcare facilities other than hospitals implement lean healthcare methods and cultural change?

The ability to promote an error free work environment is just as important in physician practices as it is in hospitals.


Q 8: Why do  you emphasize change management as much as Return on Investment to your clients?

While financial savings are important to our clients they are just one piece of the pie that we track.  The culture of your organization can also impact the acceptance of change. Initially, deployments are generally filled with staff and physician energy and excitement. Unfortunately, without change management, process improvement and an effective leadership team to maintain program focus and determine priorities, it does not take long for any implemented change to become stalled or derailed by higher priorities or lack of acceptance from others. Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied with drawbacks, resistance and discomforts.Is this change the right thing to do?

  • No one told me about this
  • I don’t have time for this.
  • Well they fixed that issue, but created several new barriers.
  • I wish they would’ve talked to me.
  • This is like putting lipstick on a pig; it has done nothing to change how things get done around here!
  • That’s not in my job description

These quotes are representative of what physicians, operational leaders, front line staff and administrative leaders think or say soon after the initial excitement wears off.The cost of changes that fail (or then the regression of success) goes far beyond financial cost or foregone revenue.  When changes fail and programs regress in organizations employees and physicians begin to lose trust in the change. They become frustrated, cynical, and begin to give up which make the changes of future change efforts even less likely to succeed.What you begin to see when working with Lean Fox Solutions is a new management philosophy that also values improved patient safety, clinical quality, and an efficient operation that improves associate and physician work environment and patient access to care. It is not just another way to cut the budget and it is not a quick fix.