Symposium lean thinking in healthcare - highlights

June 11 the symposium "lean thinking in health care" took place in the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg in the Netherlands. 230 participants from 20 hospitals and several research institutions, a packed auditorium.

Besides managers and staf many caregivers (almost half) and a remarkable level of energy. Was there at the first symposium last year an atmosphere of "could lean thinking be something for us?" this year it was' how can we work on it? ". Also, there was a lot of exchange of experiences with lean principles and tools. The application is increasing rapidly in the various hospitals.

In his book "The Toyota Way" Jeffrey Liker describes 14 principles that Toyota has developed over the years. He divided them into four pillars (roughly translated):
  • Long-term philosophy that leads to greater value
  • Improve processes: more flow and less waste 
  • People excel through respect and challenge
  • Countinuous, steady, improvement
I looked back at the program of last year, and noticed how the focus on the application of the principles in the care last year was mainly in the 2nd pillar: the improvement of processes. This year shows a different picture: a lot of attention to continuous improvement and the human side is well represented. Value also is represented in the form of the relationship between lean thinking and "loving care". It would therefore appear that the principles of Toyota are not only applied more in healthcare, but also the application evolves and gets richer.  A development that gives confidence that lean thinking can contribute to a sustainable development of healthcare.

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