Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Manufacturing Systems

First Advisor

Velasco, Tomas

Abstract

Lean techniques are tools that reduce waste in the process and create value for the end-customer. Initially, the concept of lean thinking started in manufacturing, but with the tremendous advantages it offers in terms of value creation for the customer, defect reduction, increase of profits for corporations, it has been recognized as an important tool across a wide spectrum of industries. Although Healthcare industry has started applying these techniques, there is very little work published on how to apply these techniques to this particular industry. In this study, a framework for applying lean thinking to healthcare industries is presented. The framework depicts a systematic methodology for identifying value streams. The framework was developed specifically for the healthcare industry, but it can be applied to service industry in general. A case study is presented on how to apply this framework. Value stream mapping has been conducted at a clinic to identify areas of improvement. The components of the developed framework have been used to define a future state of process based on input from process owners, nurses, physicians, and patient surveys. The study has identified factors that influence the success of implementation of lean techniques in healthcare. Also the potential for future work has been identified.

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