CHAPTER 1Simple Steps to a Faster Hospital

With all the hoopla about healthcare reform, there’s one huge missing piece—healthcare is going to have to get dramatically faster, better, and cheaper to help pay for the changes. Each of the nation’s 5,700+ hospitals must find ways to cut millions of dollars in unnecessary costs over the next decade. This may sound difficult considering that half of all hospitals lose money. Most hospitals exist on a 4 to 5 percent margin. But Lean can help hospitals start getting faster, better, and cheaper in just a few days.

One of the key principles of Lean thinking is to eliminate delays that consume up to 95 percent of the total cycle time (57 minutes per hour). If you’ve ever been a patient in a hospital emergency ...

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