While the economy has slowed, this may be the perfect time to evaluate your systems and begin implementing LEAN process improvement. What can LEAN do for your organization? Here are three things:

LEAN Practices = Reduced Waste

When correctly understood and implemented, LEAN practices can identify and reduce many forms of waste in healthcare facilities. A “5-S” process (sorting; sweeping; simplifying; standardizing; sustaining) cleans up and organizes any space large or small. It can be helpful to create immediate efficiencies in any space, allowing you to then begin observing and identifying wasteful and excessive processes that hinder “flow”. This helps determine where you should focus LEAN practices within your organization.

You’ll find LEAN practices can help to diminish wasted motions such as excess walking, bending, and reaching; minimize time waiting for patients, physicians, equipment, products or information; and lessen errors whether in patient care, paperwork or other staff duties. By beginning this process, you’ll also identify the most efficient ways to implement new efficient ideas.

LEAN Practices = Retained Key Staff

With news of layoffs coming almost daily, no industry—including healthcare—can be considered recession proof. When your key staff isn’t worried about becoming the latest statistic, they can devote time and energy to finding better and more efficient ways of caring for patients, which can result in a satisfying and productive workplace.

LEAN Practices = Reduced Costs

To put it simply, LEAN will open your eyes and help you to identify and eliminate waste and allow you to do more with less. There are no expensive software programs to purchase, only ideas—free ideas!—to apply. Additionally, LEAN results—including eliminated waste, improved patient services and streamlined processes—can add value to your organization without capital expenditure.