5S Lean Healthcare Design and Planning

Resources to help you get started with implementing 5S

Many healthcare organizations have successfully adopted the 5S Lean mindset and methodology from the manufacturing industry to drive continuous quality improvement. The five phases of 5S (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain) help healthcare staff and leaders keep a watchful eye on processes and materials that do not add value to patient care. If the effort or product does not add value to the patient care process, the Lean mindset says cut it. Time and materials cost money and other resources. 5S gives Lean practitioners a method to follow while they continuously hunt for waste, and weed it out through small, incremental improvements.

Here are some of the best 5S resources to help you get started implementing new Lean procedures.

Lean Healthcare and the 5S Mindset

Dental assistant preparing instruments, close up
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If you are new to Lean and what 5S stands for, start here. This article explains each of the five steps, and how to put them into practice. The article also explains why 5S Lean is so much more than just a process that one follows. 5S Lean is most effective when it truly becomes a mindset that people at all levels of an organization endorse believe in, and practice daily.

The ROI for a 5S Lean Healthcare Culture

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Now that you understand a bit more about what 5S stands for and the principles of Lean, you'll probably want to explore further the connection between efficiency, waste reduction, improved health outcomes, and financial results.

A healthcare organization consists of many types of people with a variety of complementary skill sets. Therefore, different people will have different reasons to justify and implement 5S Lean. This article will help draw the connection to financial benefits that 5S Lean has helped many healthcare organizations realize, while simultaneously improving patient care quality.

How To Start a 5S Lean Program in Your Healthcare Organization

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Ronald Castillo sorts through medicine during a medical civic action program at the Tafunsak government building in support of Pacific Partnership. Copyright (c) Public Domain

So now you understand what 5S Lean means; what benefits it can provide to patient care, patient and staff satisfaction; and the financial results a healthcare organization can expect. There are a lot of layers to a healthcare organization, however, so a coordinated and unified effort is critical to implementation success.

"How to Start a 5S Lean Program in Your Healthcare Organization" will guide leaders through the essential steps necessary for an effective roll-out of your program. Keep in mind, this is a cultural change as much as it is anything else, so the more thoughtful for your efforts to win 'buy-in' at all levels, the better your chances for success.

Medical Supplies that Enable 5S Lean Healthcare Design

Pharmacists taking inventory in pharmacy
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So you've assembled your leadership team, taught frontline managers how 5S Lean will help them contribute to the organization's overall goals of better care at lower costs, and have noticed you've developed advocates that are ready to make it happen. Theory and financial models have done their work, but it's time for those to take a backseat for a moment while you show people how to actually implement 5S Lean into their everyday work.

Here are some actual product ideas that are designed with Lean in mind. As your staff begins to use these products in their daily work flow, the 5S Lean mindset will make more sense.

5S Lean and Lab Design

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In this article, you'll learn more about 5S Lean and how it can work within a lab environment. Working through this example will help paint a picture of what 5S Lean looks like in practice.

Improving Surgical Procedure-Pack Design

EMPOWER Packaging System
EMPOWER Packaging System. Copyright (c) Medline

The good news for patient care organizations is that there are many manufacturers that believe in 5S Lean, and are continuously developing and improving products to support your 5S methodology. This article focuses on one example, Medline's EMPOWER system. EMPOWER is their improved surgical procedure-pack design that uses Lean principles such as labeling and color-coding, as well as pre-packaging, to help their surgical clients to save time and money, and reduce the chances for human error.

A Tried and True Improvement Methodology for Healthcare Processes

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As an added bonus, read about a proven method for process improvement. This is a simple to learn, simple to execute, process that staff can use to make those small, incremental changes that eventually become new and improved process standards that are essential to realizing Lean success.

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