Table 3

Examples of lean tools and methods used in healthcare

Tools and methods usedNo
Component I: methods to understand processes in order to identify and analyse problems
 Value stream mapping* 19 20 23 24 26 29–32 36 42 44 46–4815
 Process mapping16–18 25 27 28 31 34 35 4110
 5 Whys16 18 22 34 35 43 467
 5S16 26 42–456
 Specification of the ‘ideal’16 18 24 324
Component II: methods to organise more effective and/or efficient processes
 Process orientation16–20 23–36 38–40 42–4829
 Specification of ‘standard procedures’ with focus on waste elimination18 20 24 26 27 29 30 32 34 35 40 45–4815
 Physical work setting redesign16 20 23 24 26 2828–31 35 44 4512
 One-piece continuous flow16 25 29–32 39 43 449
 Kanban16 26 29 30 35 436
 5S16 26 42–456
 Process streaming17 19 23 25 445
 Pull26 36 443
 Rapid changeover time271
 Workload balancing271
 Two-piece continuous flow201
 Work redesign17 and Multidisciplinary task training342
Components III: methods to improve error detection, relay information to problem solvers, and prevent errors from causing harm
 Visual management16 22–24 26 28–30 32 35 38 40–4618
 Enhance adherence to standard procedures27 29 32–34 39 40 45 46 4810
 5S16 26 42–456
 Patient safety alert system and ‘Stop the line’22 372
Component IV: methods to manage change and solve problems with a scientific approach
 Team approach to problem solving and rapid process improvement events16 18–30 32 34 35 37 38 40 42–45 47 4826
 A3 reporting system16 24 32 43 45 466
 Management system for rapid problem investigation (‘Go to gemba’)18 22 34 35 355
 Patient safety alert system and ‘Stop the line’22 372
  • * More about these lean associated terms can be found at http://www.ihi.org49 or in the articles cited.