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Lean management in health care: a review of reviews of socio-technical components for effective impact

Marta Marsilio (Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan, Milan, Italy)
Martina Pisarra (Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan, Milan, Italy)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 9 February 2021

Issue publication date: 8 June 2021

487

Abstract

Purpose

The aims of the implementation of lean management in health care are to improve quality of care, to eliminate waste and to increase efficiency. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the advancement of knowledge by investigating which main socio-technical factors are considered to be effective for the implementation and management of lean initiatives.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review of literature reviews on lean management in health care was conducted. The components of the socio-technical system are identified by moving from the socio-technical drivers that support organization-wide quality improvement practices and the lean implementation process in health care. The impacts of lean management are classified using the internal processes, patient, learning and financial dimensions.

Findings

The 28 reviews retrieved confirm the current and increasing interest in lean management. While more than 60% of them call for a system-wide approach, system-wide implementations have rarely been observed, and, instead, adoption in isolated units or departments, or the use of single techniques and tools, prevails. The most commonly investigated socio-technical components are organizational structure, techniques and tools and organizational culture and strategic management. Significant impacts are reported for all the four dimensions. Nonetheless, the review reveals that there is still a lack of evidence on the sustainability of lean results and a need for a standardized impact measurement system.

Originality/value

This work stands out as the first review of reviews of how the socio-technical components of the lean management approach obtain positive impacts within the patient, internal processes, learning and financial dimensions.

Keywords

Citation

Marsilio, M. and Pisarra, M. (2021), "Lean management in health care: a review of reviews of socio-technical components for effective impact", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 475-491. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-06-2020-0241

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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