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SUSTAINABILITY: Making the Best Use of Resources

Working LEAN at Eastern Health
Published on Connect Magazine, Fall 2012
You’re picking your child up from school. Do you drive the route that traditionally takes you 25 minutes or the route that usually takes 15 minutes?

You just put a load of laundry in the washer. Do you stand in front of it waiting for it to finish in order to put the clothes in the dryer? Or do you go do something else?
Working LEAN at Eastern HealthThe answers to these questions seem rather obvious. In the first example, you avoid wasting time by taking the shorter route. In the second example, you avoid wasting time by doing something else. In other words, you try to be as efficient as possible. You may not realize it, but you are following the lean philosophy. Your time is valuable; you don’t want to waste it! You want to spend your time on valuable things like playing with your children or attending a personal development course that interests you.

At Eastern Health, there are a number of initiatives that have used the lean philosophy and various tools to make processes more efficient.
Lean in the Lab 
In Blood Collection at Major’s Path, patients were waiting an average of 30 minutes for blood collection to a high of 80 minutes.
“Management and staff met with Justin Swain, Senior Lab Manager, Quality Improvement/Lean Specialist, and put our heads together to figure out ways to decrease wait times,” says Marie Rossiter, Laboratory Assistant. “We changed very little but it made a big difference.”
The solution was to split a shift so that an extra person was working at peak times. Now, patients wait on average seven minutes to a high of 20 minutes.
“Patients love it,” says Marie, “and so do we.” 


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Updated Sep 25, 2012