Why KAIZEN™ in Healthcare?

Traditionally when we talk of improvement we think that it can be done only by providing more staff, more money, more space or a combination of all these factors. Sometimes the answer is simply that the patient must wait lon-ger for treatment.

The Healthcare profession is facing growing challenges:

• cost of materials,

• staff shortages,

• increased demand,

• increased stress on their staff ,

• greater potential for mistakes,

• increased dissatisfaction from patients/clients because of long wait times and poor service,

• financial restraints from insurance companies and governments and

• increased media attention and distractions.

But why such problems?

Hospitals have;

1. World class doctors

2. World class equipments

3. World class treatments


completely broken processes.


The Healthcare sector requires the ulti-mate in client/patient satisfaction purely by the nature of the service it provides. A growing number of healthcare orga-nizations are applying the KAIZEN™ Lean principles to increase their effectiveness. The KAIZEN™ Lean approach focuses on two major objectives: Customer satis-faction and flow whilst simultaneously improving staff satisfaction and safety.

It helps to

1. Reduce errors

2. Reduce waiting time

3. Support employees by eliminating road blocks in providing good care

Frank & Gilbreth – two original efficiency experts - applied it in late nineteenth century – Surgical Nurse handing over instruments to surgeon is a better practice introduced by them , which we take for granted today. Henry Ford , in 1922 , wrote about his efforts , in applying manufacturing concepts in a hospital in Dearborn , Michigan.

When the transformation is completed properly it affects the organization’s end-to-end processes, plus the culture. The positive and usually immediate im-pacts include the speed, cost and quality of service. Once Lean implementation is underway, the entire staff (doctors, nurses, technicians, support staff) and the patients, all ‘see’ and ‘feel’ the im-pact. There is a huge shift in culture and thinking and everyone starts to work as a team and as part of the Value Stream not in department or silos. The stresses are removed and staff are able to focus on applying their skills instead of spen-ding time on the non-value activities.

In case if you missed our last blog, it was on Goal of Lean Manufacturing

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