We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Lean Healthcare?

By Jan Fletcher
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At SmartCapitalMind, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Lean healthcare is the application of lean manufacturing principles to healthcare delivery. The goal of any lean operation is twofold: reducing the amount of time spent on unnecessary activities and reducing defects in the production of goods or provision of services. Lean healthcare distinguishes between value-added and non-value-added activities and procedures, with an aim to eliminate those that add no value.

An example of an activity that adds value in lean healthcare is providing life-sustaining care to an injured person. That example can be compared to a nurse who spends 15 minutes looking for surgical supplies that were not in the proper place. That is a non-value added activity, because time spent looking for supplies adds nothing of value to patient care. In lean manufacturing, strong efforts are made to avoid defects in manufacturing through quality-control measures. Applying this principle in healthcare is considered critical to lowering mortality rates and reducing the occurrence of unintended injuries to patients.

There are major differences when applying lean principles to a healthcare setting. A hospital with sick or injured patients is a vastly different work environment from a smoothly operating factory running on a strict production timetable. In a factory, it is a relatively simple task to give directions and expect compliance to procedures that aim to reduce waste and increase efficiency.

In a healthcare setting, even though workers are trained to anticipate a patient’s needs, medical situations can arise without regard to a timetable or schedule. Healthcare workers also are expected to be compassionate and attentive to patients, bringing a human touch to healthcare. This is why few patients would want a strict application of lean manufacturing principles applied to a patient-care setting. The goal in lean healthcare is to preserve compassion while still reducing variance in procedures and eliminating unnecessary activities.

This goal is accomplished through helping healthcare providers understand the difference between internal and primary processes and then training staff members to look at internal processes with an eye toward eliminating waste. For example, one internal process is the way in which a storage area is organized. On the other hand, a primary process would be the bedside care of a patient experiencing pain.

The storage area might have historically served a purpose directly related to patient care in the past, but over time, it has become a catchall for furniture or tools that are not frequently used. If a hospital has few of these rooms, the overall impact on a lean operation might be minimal. If there are many such areas, however, the impact could be significant. If such waste occurs on an even larger scale, a hospital board might approve spending the money necessary to expand the facility’s infrastructure, because of the perception that there is not sufficient space to care for patients. A lean healthcare strategy would look at first reclaiming wasted space, thus saving a significant capital outlay.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments

SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

SmartCapitalMind, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.