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Saskatoon Health Region Takes Lean to the Drawing Board

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A key ingredient of quality healthcare is the care facility itself.  Recognizing this, Saskatoon Health Region is bringing Lean process into the design phase of the new Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan, due for completion in 2015.  The result will be a facility designed to optimize patient flow, marking a departure from the traditional departmental planning approach.

“Because of the challenges healthcare is facing, there is a push to build patient-focused centres that support better and quicker service with the same resources,” says Larry Coté, President of Lean Advisors, who are providing Lean expertise on the project.

“Lean is a relatively new concept in healthcare in terms of construction projects,” says Louis Guilbeault, Executive VP of ZW Group, which is managing the project.  “What this is doing is challenging users to think about how they are going to operate in the facility.”

A series of Lean Value Stream Mapping events will bring designers and care workers to the table as they consider how location, layout, storage, and sight lines can support the best possible patient processes.  Flexibility to meet changing requirements and reduction in unnecessary steps are key criteria.  “Now you have the opportunity to go after inefficiencies that previously would have been dictated by the structure of the building.” says Coté

With designers and care workers reading off the same script, the facility promises to be model for future efforts.  “I definitely think we’ll see more of this through the construction of hospital projects,” says Guilbeault.  “They’re at the cutting edge when it comes to implementing Lean into new construction design.  I look forward to seeing the benefits that come out of it.”

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