Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toyota’s 'lean thinking' system applied as a way to improve the NHS

Date:
March 6, 2014
Source:
University of Huddersfield
Summary:
A management system devisedso that giantcar manufacturers could stay ahead of the competition has been adapted to help the NHS make the best use of its budget and respond as closely as possible to patients’ needs.The principles of Lean Thinking -- the removal of all non-value-added activities, the focus on the customer needs and requirements and the continuous improvement approaches -- were developed by Toyota from the 1950s as their strategic system to help the car firm to compete commercially.

A management system devised so that giant car manufacturers could stay ahead of the competition has been adapted by a University of Huddersfield professor to help the NHS make the best use of its budget and respond as closely as possible to patients' needs.

Related Articles


The approach is named "Lean Thinking" and Professor David Bamford and his colleagues have carried out a succession of projects with NHS trusts in Yorkshire that apply its tenets to healthcare.

One Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with the Bradford NHS Trust led to the development of a new and efficient patient transport system, while another Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project, with the South West Yorkshire Trust, aided the improvement of the Single Point of Access performances for mental health services.

Professor Bamford led this Knowledge Exchange Project and received 105,962 from the ESRC in order to disseminate Lean Thinking throughout the NHS, so that decision-making is streamlined and waste is reduced. A series of seven workshops plus a large-scale dissemination event at the University of Huddersfield have helped to spread the message.

"The healthcare budget within the UK is finite, so if you make processes and systems more efficient you get more out of the money that you have," said Professor Bamford. "We have proven that if you redesign the systems and take out the factors that do not add value, then that makes them more efficient, leading to the patient getting a better level of service."

Lean Thinking

The principles of Lean Thinking -- the removal of all non-value-added activities, the focus on the customer needs and requirements and the continuous improvement approaches -- were developed by Toyota from the 1950s as their strategic system to help the car firm to compete commercially. More recently, Professor Bamford -- who is Professor of Operations Management at the University of Huddersfield's Business School -- has played a leading role in adapting these concepts for public services, with a special emphasis on healthcare.

But there are limits to the extent that Lean Thinking can be applied to the NHS, concedes Professor Bamford.

"For example, if you applied the idea to the blood transfusion service, it just wouldn't work. You have to have plenty of stock and spare capacity. Similarly, within an A&E department you need to keep some flexibility with additional medical staff and physical space for capacity."

"But there are other areas where if you look at the procedures, you can make them better fit for purpose."

Improving things for patients

Professor Bamford -- working with a University of Huddersfield's colleague, lecturer Benjamin Dehe -- has also carried out research on the use of Lean Thinking in the planning and design of new healthcare infrastructure. Here, they were prepared to take guidance from different best practices in the world of construction and other industries, for instance learning from McDonald's, the international fast food chain.

"They serve 65 million people a day globally and very carefully place their restaurants and make them just the right size so that they achieve the most impact. We have taken some of those algorithms and applied them to healthcare."

Greater transparency has also been introduced, with added input to building design and planning from the public and from patient/user groups.

"With the rise of Clinical Commissioning Groups and the idea that healthcare has to move from traditional hospitals into the community -- which is often much more appropriate for patients -- there is the opportunity for better service," said Professor Bamford. "The challenge is to make sure that the systems, the procedures and everything surrounding them are fit for purpose."

Professor Bamford remains in close contact with the NHS trusts, so that he can keep the ESRC informed on the progress of his projects.

"What we hope to do is improve things for patients and this is a way for the University to have an impact on society. So we will continue to work in this field. It is very rewarding to make a tangible difference to patients' lives and we have evidence that the advice and the systems we are bringing with us can make a real difference."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Huddersfield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Huddersfield. "Toyota’s 'lean thinking' system applied as a way to improve the NHS." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306095248.htm>.
University of Huddersfield. (2014, March 6). Toyota’s 'lean thinking' system applied as a way to improve the NHS. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306095248.htm
University of Huddersfield. "Toyota’s 'lean thinking' system applied as a way to improve the NHS." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306095248.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins