It should be noted that the US healthcare system with its unique features implies the possibility of producing waste despite the fact that organizations strive for eliminating or preventing it. In addition, some inefficiencies are an integral part of the process of delivering care. Nevertheless, hospital setting requires removing those activities that do not contribute value to care provision. At this point, it is essential to mention that the concept of Lean is applicable to hospitals and it enables determining the potential of institutions in waste management.
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Notably, the research results suggest that waste management can be applied to all the three settings including administrative, operational, and clinical (Graban, 2016). However, the types of waste are different since, at the first two levels, they are linked to ineffective production and delivery of services while the latter category implies allocative waste (excessive expenses). Therefore, it is essential to concentrate on the enhancement of production flows, intensification of the output, and the elimination of redundant expenses.
Efficiency of waste management in regards to the concept of Lean applied to the hospital setting implies several aspects. In general, the emphasis should be made on refining the value from the standpoint of client, eliminating waste, and allocating the resources more effectively (Graban, 2016). That is to say, sufficient waste management implies improving the workflow through inventory optimization, stimulation of provider-customer relationship, alteration of the work environment through communication and collaborations, and effective time management. Moreover, it is essential to manage variation within the hospital and utilize the systems helpful in preventing errors.
Value to Patient
Importantly, the measures employed to stimulate waste management should orient at delivering better patient care and ensuring client security. For instance, the enhanced organizational culture will result in the communication between professionals that is more effective and will promote the continuity of care and smoother handover processes. The informational flow will provide an opportunity to deliver patient information in a concise and accurate manner so that medical errors are prevented (Kerpchar, Protzman, & Mayzell, 2014). Such quality improvements will also encourage clinical leadership. Greater engagement of professionals will ensure better supervision and, thus, more secure patient environment and more quality care.
To improve the situation, certain changes should be made. Overall, waste management should be applied to each act of care provision. For instance, it is essential to avoid duplication of services and advise patients to take tests at lower cost. In addition, information technology and computerized solutions such as alerts will assist greatly in avoiding repetitions (Kerpchar et al., 2014). Ineffective production can be decreased by equipping the units with the instruments that are used the most often and disregarding the other tools.
In terms of allocative inefficiency, additional imaging tests or excessive follow-up visits should be rejected (Rich, Knox Singleton, & Wadhwa, 2013). In addition, branded medications should be replaced with generic drugs since this alteration will not affect the quality of treatment but will allow reducing the expenses.
Thus, it can be concluded that various measures can be taken to reduce waste within the hospital. However, it is essential that they coincide to ensure the entire process of care provision is addressed. Importantly, all the changes should strive for delivering value to clients and securing patents while delivering quality care.
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Graban, M. (2016). Lean hospitals (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Kerpchar, J., Protzman, C., & Mayzell, G. (2014). Leveraging lean in the emergency department. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Rich, C., Knox Singleton, J., & Wadhwa, S. (2013). Sustainability for healthcare management. New York, NY: Routledge.