The Lean Philosophy and Managerial Work in Healthcare

Lean management and systems principles have been used effectively in manufacturing companies for decades, particularly in Japan. Although healthcare differs in many ways from manufacturing, there are also surprising similarities.

A central concept of Lean is to understand value from the customer's perspective, and focus on the value stream to improve flow and reduce waste. Likewise, in healthcare, it is important to develop care processes based on the patient’s perspective, with a focus on shortening lead times and increasing value. This project aims to develop knowledge about prerequisites, processes and consequences of implementing Lean in healthcare. The project focuses particularly on the following questions:

  • How does Lean healthcare contribute to improved quality of care?
  • What does it mean to implement Lean from the employees’ perspective?
  • How does Lean can be disseminated at regional and national level?
  • What are the necessary Lean leadership practices to developed sustainable Lean management system?

Research methods: a mixed-method strategy with qualitative case studies and quantitative data from the Swedish National Patient Survey (NPS).
Type of Project and Time Plan: Vinnova, HELIX VINN Excellence Centre, Swedish Institute and internal funding.

Key publications:

  • Poksinska B, Fialkowska-Filipek M, Engström J. (2016), “Does Lean healthcare improve patient satisfaction? A mixed-method investigation into primary care”, BMJ Quality & Safety, pp. 0-9.
  • Poksinska, B. (2015) “Lean Healthcare: What Is the Contribution to Quality of Care?”, in Management Innovations for Health Care Organizations: Adopt, Abandon or Adapt? A. Örtenblad, C. A. Löfström and R. Sheaff. New York, Routledge: 119-133.
  • Drotz, E., & Poksinska, B. (2014) “Lean in Healthcare from Employees’ Perspective”, Journal of health organization and management, 28(2), 177 - 195.
  • Dannapfel, P., Poksinska, B., & Thomas, K. (2014) ”Dissemination strategy for Lean thinking in health care”, International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 27(5), 391 - 404.
  • Poksinska, B., Swartling, D., & Drotz, E. (2013) “The daily work of Lean leaders – lessons from manufacturing and healthcare”, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 24(7-8), 886–898.
  • Poksinska B. (2010) “The current state of Lean implementation in healthcare - literature review”, Quality Management in Health Care, 19(4), 319-329.

Researchers Show/Hide content