Using Lean Six Sigma to redesign the supply chain to the operating room department of a private hospital to reduce associated costs and release nursing time to care
Teeling, Sean Paul
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O’Mahony, L., McCarthy, K., O’Donoghue, J., Teeling, S.P., Ward, M. and McNamara, M. (2021) 'Using Lean Six Sigma to redesign the supply chain to the operating room department of a private hospital to reduce associated costs and release nursing time to care', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(21), article no. 11011.
Continuity of the supply chain is an integral element in the safe and timely delivery of health services. Lean Six Sigma (LSS), a continuous improvement approach, aims to drive efficiencies and standardisation in processes, and while well established in the manufacturing and supply chain industries, also has relevance in healthcare supply chain management. This study outlines the application of LSS tools and techniques within the supply chain of an Operating Room (OR) setting in a private hospital in Dublin, Ireland. A pre-/post-intervention design was employed following the Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control (DMAIC) framework and applying LSS methodology to redesign the current process for stock management both within the OR storage area and within a pilot OR suite, through collaborative, inclusive, and participatory engagement with staff. A set of improvements were implemented to standardise and streamline the stock management in both areas. The main outcomes from the improvements implemented were an overall reduction in the value of stock held within the operating theatre by 17.7%, a reduction in the value of stock going out of date by 91.7%, and a reduction in the time spent by clinical staff preparing stock required for procedures by 45%, all demonstrating the effectiveness of LSS in healthcare supply chain management.