News story

Using Lean to drive the Patient Safety Agenda

Egham, Surrey, UKLearning NewsAmnis

Lean is far more than just a set of tools for improving efficiency. It can also drive significant improvements in patient safety, according to Amnis, the quality, innovation and productivity organisation.

“We have used Lean to drive improvements in medication risk, reduce the risk of falls and infection and also to reduce other risks arising from ‘human error’ type issues, such as wrong site surgery,” explained Amnis’ Mark Eaton.

Susan Williams, former Chief Executive of the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), commented: “My work with the Amnis team has shown how easily Lean and other service improvement initiatives can be adapted to tackle some of the major process and cultural issues that drive poor patient safety performance.

“Using Lean to review systems and processes can deliver improvements not just in efficiency but also by engaging clinicians in reducing patient safety risks and, importantly, in avoiding introducing new risks into the redesigned ways of working.

“Organisations may be missing a trick in not explicitly aligning patient safety goals into their change programmes,” she added.

According to Amnis’ Eaton: “Lean has traditionally been used to drive improvements in productivity, experience and access in healthcare but as our work with organisations shows, with the right focus and access to specialist skills it is possible to tackle patient safety issues.

“The key to success is to ensure that you adopt an approach to Lean that is flexible for your organisation and to develop the internal capability of your staff as quickly as possible, so that they can take the reins for your improvement programme,” Eaton advised.