Performance Improvement

Using Lean to Rapidly and Sustainably Transform a Behavioral Health Crisis Program: Impact on Throughput and Safety

Background: Lean has been increasingly applied in health care to reduce waste and improve quality, particularly in fast-paced and high-acuity clinical settings such as emergency departments. In addition, Lean’s focus on engagement of frontline staff in problem solving can be a catalyst for organizational change. In this study, ConnectionsAZ demonstrates how they applied Lean principles to rapidly and sustainably transform clinical operations in a behavioral health crisis facility.

Methods: A multidisciplinary team of management and frontline staff defined values-based outcome measures, mapped the current and ideal processes, and developed new processes to achieve the ideal. Phase I was implemented within three months of assuming management of the facility and involved a redesign of flow, space utilization, and clinical protocols. Phase II was implemented three months later and improved the provider staffing model. Organizational changes such as the development of shift leads and daily huddles were implemented to sustain change and create an environment supportive of future improvements.

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