Top-performing hospital credits Lean Management with dramatic savings

Since Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center began using Toyota's lean management style 10 years ago, the hospital has risen to the top 1 percent in safety and efficiency nationwide, reports Voice of America.

The hospital also has successfully streamlined cancer patients' visits. By tracing the steps associated with administering chemotherapy treatments, Virginia Mason staff reduced the process by 50 percent. "Time is absolutely the most precious thing in [these patients'] lives, and [staff] were wasting huge amounts of it," says efficiency expert Charles Kenney, author of Transforming Healthcare, Virginia Mason Medical Center's Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience.

Lean changes have also enabled nurses to spend 90 percent of their time providing direct care to patients, up from just 35 percent, notes HealthLeaders Media. Patient wait times for lab test results also dropped by more than 85 percent, while professional liability insurance fell 52 percent.

The lean techniques also enhanced the hospital's bottom line. "By continuously taking out waste over these 10 years, and getting better and better at improving our quality, we've lowered our cost position. Our cost per dollar of revenue continues to decline," Virginia Mason's chairman and CEO Dr. Gary Kaplan tells HealthLeaders Media.

For more:
- read the Voice of America article
- check out this HealthLeaders Media article

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