BIDMC uses lean production approach

Like peers elsewhere in the country, Boston, MA-area hospitals are beginning to consider the use lean production techniques used by the auto making industry, convinced that such approaches can do wonders for efficiency. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in particular, is one of the region's leading proponents of the Toyota Production System. BIDMC is leading in implementing this approach, otherwise known as Kaizen ("continuous improvement" in Japanese), to address places where patient care workflow is getting jammed.

Using these techniques--which largely involve observing processes, measuring them with timers or pedometers then addressing roadblocks--BIDMC was able to cut average wait times in its orthopedics department to 84 minutes from a prior 187 minutes. The department can now see 61 additional next-day patients per week. The hospital is now rolling out this approach to other departments.

To find out more about this strategy:
- read this Boston Business Journal article