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Trends and approaches in lean healthcare

Luciano Brandao de Souza (Department of Management Science, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 1 May 2009




The aim of this paper is to provide a review of the existing literature on lean healthcare. It seeks to describe how this concept has being applied and to assess how trends and methods of approach in lean healthcare have evolved over the years.


The paper surveys the applications of lean healthcare in the current literature and classifies over 90 works according to a taxonomy suggested.


Though there seems to exist an agreement about the potential of lean healthcare, it remains a challenge for academics and practitioners to evaluate lean healthcare under a more critical perspective.

Practical implications

This work is helpful not only for healthcare practitioners and for researchers in private and public organisations, but also for journal editors and reviewers because it offers ready access to an up to date comprehensive review.


Since lean started being applied in healthcare, no effort to provide a complete resource surveying the existing literature has been done.



Brandao de Souza, L. (2009), "Trends and approaches in lean healthcare", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 121-139.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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