Lean at Hospitals
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- Master of Science 
Hospitals are facing a huge paradox; although the system retain immense competence, the business is not developing as expected (Lord, 2019). Medical advancements have been remarkable, but more than 30% of allocated funds in the healthcare sector are wasted by inefficiencies in the use of personnel, services, equipment and processes (OECD, 2017). In addition, the scarcity of nurses has become substantial across Norway and the current deficit of 5 600 nurses is expected to increase to nearly 30 000 over the next sixteen years (Aftenposten, 2019). These challenges combined has prompted hospitals and governments to search for solutions. Lean is a modern mind-set that is claimed to increase quality, reduce costs and bring a more acceptable workload. This philosophy has been put in use for more than a decade at the first hospitals. However, research up until today is inconclusive regarding both its applicability and output. Based on a literature review of Lean, inventory management and supply chain management at hospitals in combination with a comparative case study of two hospitals in the southeastern region of Norway, this thesis examines “How can Lean contribute to improve hospital supply chains?” From a comprehensive analysis of the gathered data, the main findings are a considerable number of hours spent on non-value adding activities, inadequate inventory control and shortcomings in retaining a holistic view. While we have identified several shortcomings at the two hospitals, there is no doubt that the nurses and employees endure heroic efforts every day. Consequently, redesigning the system is recommended. To a large extent, this entails an urgency of enhancement in communication both internally at the hospitals and between the various supply chain actors. In addition, it is suggested that Lean tools are implemented in daily operations to release employees from being underutilized and carrying out non-value adding activities. In general, the main step towards Lean is to identify and eliminate the root causes - not just the symptoms. This entails a mindset that focuses on problem-solving rather than fire-fighting. Ultimately, value for the end customer, the patient, will increase.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Logistics, operations and supply chain management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2019