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LEAN thinking in Finnish healthcare

Tapani Jorma (Institute of Nursing Science and Health Management Science, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
Hanna Tiirinki (Institute of Nursing Science and Health Management Science, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
Risto Bloigu (Medical Informatics and Statistics Research Group, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
Leena Turkki (Institute of Nursing Science and Health Management Science, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 1 February 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to evaluate how LEAN thinking is used as a management and development tool in the Finnish public healthcare system and what kind of outcomes have been achieved or expected by using it. The main focus is in managing and developing patient and treatment processes.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-method approach incorporating the Webropol survey was used.

Findings

LEAN is quite a new concept in Finnish public healthcare. It is mainly used as a development tool to seek financial savings and to improve the efficiency of patient processes, but has not yet been deeply implemented. However, the experiences from LEAN initiatives have been positive, and the methodology is already quite well-known. It can be concluded that, because of positive experiences from LEAN, the environment in Finnish healthcare is ready for the deeper implementation of LEAN.

Originality/value

This paper evaluates the usage of LEAN thinking for the first time in the public healthcare system of Finland as a development tool and a management system. It highlights the implementation and achieved results of LEAN thinking when used in the healthcare environment. It also highlights the expectations for LEAN thinking in Finnish public healthcare.

Keywords

Citation

Jorma, T., Tiirinki, H., Bloigu, R. and Turkki, L. (2016), "LEAN thinking in Finnish healthcare", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 9-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHS-08-2015-0021

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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