Every year, Chalmers Professional Education holds a large number of Lean courses for among others, clients in the manufacturing industry, construction and port operations. A specially adapted Lean game for healthcare has now been added to the training package – a welcome contribution to quality development in our hospitals, medical centers and homes for the elderly.
The new Lean game for healthcare was developed in the US but it has been translated and adapted to Swedish conditions by Lean coach Lars Danielsson in collaboration with Skåne University Hospital.
"The idea behind a specially adapted game for healthcare is to lower the threshold for learning," says Lars Danielsson. "For those working in healthcare, a traditional Lean game with terms and challenges from the manufacturing industry can feel alien."
The game is based on the flow in an emergency room and is intended to improve routine work by identifying and eliminating waiting times and unnecessary activities. The exercise shows how continuous improvements based on Lean principles can simplify the staff's work and bring about a quicker and above all, more uniform patient flow. Many people have already had the opportunity to test the Lean game – nurses, physicians, staff in municipal home-help services and healthcare managers and administrators.
"We achieve the best results in mixed groups, where several different roles and professions are represented," Lars Danielsson says. "The dynamism increases and the participants' experiences from different parts of the healthcare sector are an enhancing factor."
Chalmers Professional Education is now offering full-day seminars that in addition to the game element, also include a general introduction to the Lean philosophy. The game is played in four rounds interspersed with theory sessions that provide new information and help the participants to progress. The day concludes with reflection and discussions on how Lean can be applied in the participants' respective operations.
Skövde Hospital in the starting blocks
Svante Lifvergren, Director of Development at Skövde Hospital, has many years of experience in working with Lean. He emphasizes that according to Lean, efficiency is not about working harder, but rather about doing the right things at the right time and utilizing the staff's knowledge and motivation.
"Long-term work with Lean produces positive effects, such as more uniform patient flows and smarter ways of working. But above all, the philosophy offers good opportunities for involving the staff in development work."
At Skövde Hospital, more than 1000 individuals from the workforce have attended Lean courses, where traditional Lean games for industry have been used to demonstrate how processes can be improved. Together with a smaller number of staff, Svante Lifvergren has now tested the new healthcare game and the results have been good.
"The standard game works well, but at the same time we can see that many people are tired of industrial metaphors. The adapted game is easier to relate to and it will be exciting to introduce it on a larger scale."