Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen Workshops

To become a successful and efficient lean health care organization that provides exceptional value for customers, it’s important to strive for kaizen, or continuous improvement. Through improvement events and workshops that focus on transforming the processes within your organization, you’ll be better positioned to deliver quality care to patients.

How Value Stream Mapping Works

At the outset of an improvement journey, it’s essential to understand the flow of activities that delivers services to a customer throughout your care continuum—whether it’s a patient, colleague, team, or even a product or another service within your organization.

That flow is called a value stream. To engineer improvements, you must map the current state of your activities from the customer’s perspective, including all steps involved as well as the time at and between each step.

During workshops, our professionals facilitate a disciplined process to help you map value streams by:

  • Identifying an area of strategic importance in need for improvement
  • Convening a cross-functional team of clinicians and support staff to follow the customer through the care delivery process.
  • Mapping the value stream, identifying opportunities for improving patient safety and clinical and operational outcomes by eliminating waste
  • Creating a future state value stream that depicts how customer flow and quality could improve
  • Creating a 12–18-month plan, known as an A3, that specifies a problem condition, sets improvement targets, and lays out a course of action consisting of kaizen workshops and other improvement activities

How Kaizen Workshops Work

After mapping value streams and setting improvement targets, improvement work is then tested through kaizen workshops. Kaizen workshops, typically five-day events, convene cross-functional teams to realize rapid improvements using standardized approaches and tools to understand and solve the right problem, at the right time, with the right people.

During kaizen workshops, you’ll:

  • Learn lean health care fundamentals
  • Observe your current process to identify waste specific to the week’s scope and understand the root cause
  • Propose solutions for the identified root causes
  • Present results to management

The majority of the week is spent in gemba, the place where actual work occurs, allowing your team to test its hypothesis and refine improvements and document standard work.

Improvement results are monitored daily and reported at 30, 60, and 90 days to verify adherence to and effectiveness of the new standards.

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