5S healthcare projects deliver real results

5s is a methodology developed in the toyota production system from which lean thinking derived. The 5s system is perhaps the most easily applicable and adaptable tool of lean in healthcare setting. It’s also a tool that can deliver real results impacting both quality of care and the bottomline quite dramatically. If you are not convinced yet, let us consider this…

Benefits of 5s

If we had applied 5s to all of america’s Inpatient units in 2005, and reduced just 5 minutes from a patient’s length of stay. that would amount to approximately 135,985 days of care reduced. I am not going to venture a guess on the amount of lives saved . But it would be easier to do the math on the financials and if you are so inclined you will see a obscene amount of dollar savings.

When done well, it can deliver even better results. Let us examine the methodology and then we will look at the ‘done well’ part.

The 5s method has 5 steps to implement
Sort (Seiri): This refers to the sorting through all the charts, supplies, equipment and meds etc., in the work area and keeping only essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded. This leads to fewer hazards and less clutter to interfere with productive work.
Straighten (Seiton): Focuses on the need for an orderly workstation. Charts,Forms and other equipment must be systematically arranged for the easiest and most efficient access. There must be a place for everything, and everything must be in its place.
Shine (Seiso): Indicates the need to keep the workplace clean as well as neat. This is a daily activity. At the end of each shift, the work area should be cleaned up and everything is restored to its place.
Standardize (Seiketsu): Allows for control and consistency. Basic housekeeping standards apply everywhere in the facility. Everyone knows exactly what his or her responsibilities are. House keeping duties are part of regular work routines.
Sustain (Shitsuke): Refers to maintaining standards and keeping the area safe and efficient order day after day, year after year

Where to start?

Start looking at your most busy areas and just take pictures, you will be amazed at the amount of clutter you find around you. Specifically take a look at your Nurse’s station, Physician work areas, Operating rooms, Triage, Registration and Patient bedsides. Start a 5s program today and reap it’s rich benefits.

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