Approaches to accommodating changes in capacity using technology

According to Lean philosophy, value is defined from the customer’s orientation, meaning that valuable products and services are those that contribute to a customer’s experience and needs and that can be provided to the customer at the right time and for the right price, all as defined by the customer (Womack et al., 2005).

Correspondingly, waste is anything that does not add customer-defined BOX 3-1 Systems Strategies Deming Wheel or Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) is a systematic series of steps for continuous improvement of a product or process.

By approaching improvement as a whole-system effort, a number of industries coordinate operations across multiple sites, coordinate the management of supplies, design usable and useful technologies, and provide consistent and reliable processes.

With the right approach, it is likely that these principles can be applied to health care (Agwunobi and London, 2009).

Systems-based engineering approaches have also been employed successfully by a number of health care organizations to improve quality, efficiency, safety, and customer experience, and these approaches have great potential for enabling further improvements in health care delivery (IOM/NAE, 2005).

The success of these approaches will be dependent on achieving an overall integration across various health care domains and an application across interrelated systems rather than piecemeal testing across individual processes, departments, or service lines.

Queuing theory applies the mathematical study of waiting lines or queues in order to better design systems to predict or minimize queues.

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Theory of constraints is a management paradigm used in complex systems to identify the most important limiting factors (constraints) in order to improve the performance of the system.

The main objectives are to remove process burden, inconsistencies, and waste.

In health care, the application of Lean has focused on the reduction of non-value-added activities and involves the identification of system features that create value and those that do not.

Its application to health care is slowly increasing, and it has been used to increase capacity and revenue. The Lean approach relies on the continuous improvement of workflows, handoffs, and processes that function properly (Holweg, 2007; Ward and Sobek II, 2014).

These workflows, handoffs, and processes required to produce and deliver a product to the customer constitute a “value stream.” Value stream mapping is an important tool of the Lean approach.

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