Fools' Gold - Lean Management in the Health Sector
Purpose: This paper provides a critical evaluation of the impact of lean practices in informing healthcare policy.
Methods: Review of primary and secondary literature.
Results: There has been considerable interest in the implementation of practices imported from manufacturing into healthcare as a solution to address rising healthcare spending and disappointing patient safety indicators. This encompasses a number of practices in Operations Management and Human Resource Management, including Just-in-Time (JIT), Total Quality Management (TQM), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), employee empowerment, and extensive training. Used together there is great potential to improve overall firm competitiveness. However, despite widespread enthusiasm about the potential of lean management processes, evidence about its contribution to higher organisational performance remains inconsistent.
Conclusion: Our paper contributes to the organisational management literature in healthcare by showing that even though lean management in healthcare appears to have the potential to improve organisational performance; there remain problems with its application.
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