Healthcare Reimagined: Lessons From The Shop Floor

Applying process and operations management tools will free up capacity, reduce lead times, and improve outcomes

There is a wide consensus that Canada's heathcare systems are operating nowhere near acceptable efficiency. The authors of this paper argue that the issue is not one of people but rather process. "We have a capacity problem, not unlike what many plants and businesses face, so perhaps we should be turning to some shop-floor and business-style solutions."

Applying an efficiency or lean approach to healthcare delivery would mean practitioners and their supporting systems such as scanning and diagnostic equipment would spend less time on non-value-added activities and more time focused directly on patients. To move in this direction, the authors say, hospitals and other heathcare institutions need to first critically analyze the role of each stakeholder in the healthcare provider value chain to identify sources of indirect care that is consuming valuable patient interaction time. With physicians creating the most value in the system when they are interacting with, diagnosing, and treating patients, maximizing the time with patients should be a priority.  

Barry Cross is an assistant professor and Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Operations Strategy at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. He is best-selling author of Lean Innovation: Understanding What’s Next in Today’s EconomyMatthew Rowe is a Bachelor of Commerce candidate (2017) and research assistant at Smith School of Business.  

Smith School of Business

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