The paradox of lean in healthcare: Stable processes in a reactive environment

Anders Paarup Nielsen, Kasper Edwards

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    The principles of lean are widely being adopted in the healthcare sector. Interestingly the realized benefits appear not to warrant the interest from managers and policy makers. This paper presents an analysis of 3 Danish healthcare organizations which all introduced lean initiatives. However, only a limited set of tools has been used and the productivity gains are limited focusing on peripheral activities and not the core medical activities. This apparent problem with lean in health care is hypothesized to be caused by 1) the nature of healthcare work, 2) the rationality and notion of validity among different groups of healthcare professionals and 3) different rationalities in lean and professionals in healthcare. Through analysis of three cases it is concluded that the nature of work is significantly different from manufacturing primarily because of the reactive nature of work. Finally, different rationalities are observed between different groups of healthcare professionals leading to problems employing the lean tool-box.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAdvances in Occupational, Social, and Organizational Ergonomics
    Number of pages860
    Place of PublicationBoca Raton
    PublisherTaylor & Francis
    Publication date2010
    Pages335-345
    ISBN (Print)9781439835074
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    Event3rd International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics - Intercontinental , Miami, United States
    Duration: 17 Jul 201020 Jul 2010
    Conference number: 3

    Conference

    Conference3rd International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics
    Number3
    LocationIntercontinental
    CountryUnited States
    CityMiami
    Period17/07/201020/07/2010

    Cite this

    Nielsen, A. P., & Edwards, K. (2010). The paradox of lean in healthcare: Stable processes in a reactive environment. In Advances in Occupational, Social, and Organizational Ergonomics (pp. 335-345). Taylor & Francis.