5 Takeaways from Using Lean Principles to Improve Patient Experience

September 25, 2015 Stephanie Radcliffe

Adrineh Poulatian, the Patient Experience Program Manager at Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), recently presented a webinar on using lean principles to improve the patient experience. Attendees learned the basic concepts of lean management and key principles such as standard work, A3 and visual management.

Missed the webinar? Here are the top 5 takeaways from the event.

  1. Lean isn't new: Lean is a management philosophy derived mostly from Toyota manufacturing. Other industries, including healthcare, eventually took notice of all of the process improvements possible when you apply lean principles.

  2. "Lean is a mindset, a skillset and a toolset." This quote from Michael Erikson, Chief Operating Officer at PAMF, illustrates everything that goes into successfully applying lean at its facility.

  3. Involve the patient every step of the way: Healthcare organizations need to understand what the patient needs, what the patient wants and what their pain points are before they make any service improvements. PAMF makes sure they have the patient in mind before they work on improvements.

  4. Integrate lean everywhere: At PAMF, lean isn't just an initiative: it's how they go about conducting business. The two tenets that PAMF bases its patient experience on are respect for people and a spirit of continuous improvement.

  5. Think like a lean leader: A lean leader is a coach and a teacher—not a critic. When you're making changes, it's important to target the processes but not the people. Adrineh cites two examples:
  • Thought partnering: Sharing ideas across the organization and coming to a consensus
  • Catch balling: Working through problems with as many people as possible. Remember, you are not alone!

For more about how PAMF uses various tools like A3 thinking and Standard Work to improve its patient experience, listen to the on-demand webinar.


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