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Single Patient Flow: Applying Lean Principles in Healthcare

2013-01-13

  • Author
    Dr. Sami Bahri & Bruce Hamilton


Meet Dr. Sami Bahri, the “World’s First Lean Dentist.” Over the past thirty years, through personal study of The Deming Management System and subsequently many texts describing the Toyota Production System, Dr. Bahri and his staff have continuously pursued a singular mission: “to provide patients with the correct treatment they need, when they need it, in the right quantity that they need it, while eliminating anything that interrupts or delays this flow.” Borrowing the Toyota concept of one-by-one production, Dr. Bahri and his team refer to their vision as “single patient flow.” Don’t make the patient wait – anywhere. This single-minded goal has been the compass for many small improvements including a pull system to manage a flow of material, information and treatment to the patient. Quick change instrument trays assure that most dental procedures can be completed at a single seating. Visual controls alert a thoroughly cross-trained staff of dental assistants, hygienists, front office specialists and dentists when help is needed. Daily improvement and problem-solving occur through morning meetings and on-the-spot adjustments. Behind the tools is an enduring respect for employees and patients. In Dr.Bahri’s words, “It’s a win-win for the patient who competes his treatment in fewer visits and the practice which now has nearly twice as many available hours to see patients.” But the journey is never-ending as you’ll hear from Dr. Bahri, his staff and even his customers.
About the Shingo Institute

Housed at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world's thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System. Drawing from Shingo's teachings and years of experience working with organizations throughout the world, the Shingo Institute has developed the Shingo Model™ which is the basis for several educational offerings including workshops, study tours and conferences. It also awards and recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that continually strives for improvement and progress. Those interested in more information or in registering to attend the 30th International Shingo Conference may visit www.shingo.org.