Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lean on me

I have been involved in a new project at work over the last few weeks. Its a quality improvement project where by we are using techniques from Toyota and bringing them in the NHS. Hmmm you may be thinking, well so was I. We have spent the last couple of weeks learning all about lean techniques , which is basically to eliminate waste and to poka-yoke (mistake proof) a system. Apply Lean to the NHS and it will, while using no more resources:
  • Improve the quality of patient care
  • Improve safety
  • Eliminate delays
  • Reduce length of stay
Sounds far to good to be true, the project will last six months so only time will tell.

The first thing we have been doing is using the 5 S approach to sort ourselves out.
Sort - remove unnecessary items from the workplace
Straighten - locate everything at the point of use
Sweep - Clean and eliminate sources of filth
Standardise - Make routine and standard for what good looks like
Self - discipline - make 5S second nature.

The first thing we attacked was the drug cupboard as it was organised chaos. We have now split the cupboards in two, one for stock and one for dispensing with one packet of each drug in use at a time. It is now a beautiful cupboard and lets just hope we can roll it out across the whole room.

We then move on to complicated things like process mapping, it took us two days to map a patient journey with right upper quadrant pain. The trouble with trying to apply processes used to build cars in to the NHS is the healing people is not as simple as making cars. everyone is different. We spent the whole days saying things like 'well that depends' and we have so much that depends on external departments that we can not control like theatres and radiology.

I hope we see improvement and are able to met the aims of the project to increase safety and give nurses more time to nurse instead of answering the phone or searching for equipment etc.

I am now very tempted to apply the 5S approach to our new house and get rid of all the stuff we don't need and find an appropriate place for everything that would be bliss.


Anonymous said...

What a great idea, I really hope it works. I will be keen to hear the feedback in 6 months...

Maybe you could start an initiative to lay out all drug trolleys the same in the surgical wards, so it cuts the drug round time if a new person does it?



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