Does Lean Make Good on Its ROI Promise?

The above quote would have us believe that billions of dollars are available to healthcare through the elimination of defective processes and waste. Though recognizing dollars to redirect through the elimination of waste and actually realizing those redirected funds are not one in the same.

Many healthcare organizations are looking to Lean, a systematic approach for delivering value to customers while reducing waste, to increase efficiencies. But Lean is not an easy undertaking, nor is it a quick one. So the obvious questions a CEO considering Lean methodologies might ask are “Does it work? Is there real evidence that Lean in place yields significant results?”

Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA would offer a resounding yes. According to an article posted on in 2017, VMMC has seen outstanding results since creating “the Virginia Mason Production System, a management method that seeks to continually improve how work is done so there are zero defects in the final product. Staff across the organization use this method to identify and eliminate waste and inefficiency in the processes that are part of the healthcare experience.”

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Just look at these results:

  • $11MM saved in planned capital investment through improved space designs to free up 25,000 square feet in space
  • $2 MM reduction in inventory costs standardization and expense reduction in the supply chain
  • $500M decrease in overtime and temporary labor expense in just one year
  • 93% increased productivity in targeted areas via “frequently needed supply” kits and moving most commonly used supplies to point of use.
  • 85% improvement in time to report lab test results to the patient
  • 56% savings for professional liability insurance premiums
  • 60 miles per day decrease for staff walking distances

Solid evidence of real results. And in case you missed it, these Success Strategies For Launching Lean might help your Lean deployment get off to a strong start.

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Watch here for related sessions coming up at the
ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership, March 4-7, 2019.

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