Reducing Costs by Identifying Opportunities to be Lean in Healthcare

Article Revised: March 28, 2019

Reducing Costs by Identifying Opportunities to be Lean in Healthcare

In an effort to more efficiently utilize resources, more healthcare organizations are focusing on conducting business properly by using the fewest possible number of steps. By adopting the Lean Six Sigma business philosophy, hospitals and surgery centers are able to reduce expenditures by eliminating waste. Below are some key opportunities to be Lean in healthcare with particular focus given to the importance of creating of a hospital transportation network.

Examples of the Lean Philosophy within the Healthcare Arena

Healthcare organizations are filled with opportunities to reduce waste and maximize efficiency. Below are three examples of strategies that healthcare organizations have undertaken in an effort to be Lean.

  • Modifying construction plans to maximize physical space
  • Addressing lengthy wait times in the ER by revamping the intake process
  • Streamlining transportation and logistics to reduce delivery hassles

Each of these strategies offers a solution to help maximize efficiency for hospitals while improving the delivery of patient care.

Embracing the Lean Philosophy by Streamlining Transportation and Logistics

Creating an efficient intra-facility transportation network is one of the best ways that healthcare organizations can adopt a Lean philosophy. Below are some specific ways that a centralized transportation network can help hospitals reduce the amount of wasted resources:

  • Facilities can share costly capital equipment to avoid wasted expenditures
  • Centralization of laboratory and pharmacy operations
  • Use of the same courier (as opposed to different couriers) to deliver mail and supplies to facilities
  • Advance scheduling of specimen deliveries to prevent over-staffing

Streamlining transportation is particularly beneficial in reducing waste for large hospital networks that encompass a large number of facilities. In addition to allowing hospitals to devote increased focus to patient care, this strategy reduces the amount of money spent on fuel, delivery vehicles and couriers.

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