Monday, September 28, 2009

The Beginning

Last year, we began the process of creating a Lean Lab. Our hospital does not have a lot of money because we are relatively small, 87 beds, but I knew that anything that we could do would be of benefit. We had hoped to remodel the laboratory and I hired Pat Maul, MBA, MT(ASCP), Principal Consultant and Lean Sigma Black Belt of BD Diagnostics, to assist us in our process. Pat introduced the Lean concepts to the laboratory and began the process of redesigning our floor plan. Our current floor plan consists of each department in a separate room. Specimen and tech flow are choppy at best. Communication between the various rooms is difficult.

The new floor plan is an open lab with all the clinical departments in one room. Pathology, Histology, and Cytology are not included in the open lab, but are conveniently located next to the main lab. We roughed in the floor plan, and waited for the go ahead from administration to hire an architect to produce the blue prints. In the meantime, we began the internal Lean process by beginning daily meetings (or huddles) at 11:00 a.m., worked on 5S initiatives, and began to look for waste (muda) that brought us no value. Our lab began to look cleaner, more organized, and our team began to come together to focus on one mission: to put the care back in health care.

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