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Evolving clinically led LEAN process by deploying industry lean specialists

Deploying LEAN process engineering knowledge and skills from industry and into the healthcare environment to develop and enable LEAN process into appropriate healthcare environment.

Read comments 6
  • Proposal
  • 2022

Meet the team


  • Emma Savory - project administrator Quality Improvement

What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to the theme?

Experience of input from industry manufacturing process specialists from Airbus who volunteered during furlough to support process mapping and analysis of clinical process within the SDEC unit in NHS Lothian was a proof of concept of how adopting standardized process for the scheduling of unscheduled care could be. A mere 2 days of on the ground input enabled process changes that achieved a 10 minute per patient reduction in overall attendance.

We have struggled to complete further cycles or further embed the standardized operating procedures and process exemplified by the industry specialists. This project would aim to deploy skills, experience and  resources of the lean engineering teams and disseminate training and develop LEAN priciple adoption  in front door clinical care. Developed SOPs and standardized data collection tools specific to the SDEC environment would be shared for other units to adapt  and aim to publish the findings in clinical arenas to share learning.

What does your project aim to achieve?

1. A complete unit process map developed by all clinical staff supported by the expertise of the LEAN process team.

2. Support for formalized learning of the NHS England LEAN Online Learning program – to enable staff to embed LEAN principles into continued service development.

3. Small focused studies to improve understanding and integration of process analysis

– Stream line DVT process

-Carbon footprint analysis – reducing travel and reducing carbon emissions associated with attendance

– Refining the triage process system

– Better utility of the near me video functionality, reducing physical attendances

-Developing a business model for point of care ultrasound within the department based on time saving benefit

-Developing point of care biochemical testing business model case based on time in department studies.

By supporting staff to identify these low hanging fruit projects of work we can embed and enable LEAN process rational and effect both clinically, for patient experience and in cost savings analysis.

How will the project be delivered?

1. We will interface with industry partners to release lean manufacturing practitioners from the industry environment to deploy industry lead SMART process principles into the healthcare setting.

2. An open application process will be made for industry partners such as the military of defense, Airbus, Ford, Rolls Royce, Amazon, Google etc. to promote and encourage placement. We will aim to create matched funding from these organizations to support this program of work. The funding will cover a secondment opportunity into the NHS with the selected employee having to complete appropriate NHS pre-employment checks prior to taking up the post.

3. We will share learning via Twitter and with a project platform page so that learning relevant to both sectors can be shared

4. Aim to create an industry led interface community where teams can develop skills and tap into resources with rotational experiences to engage and innovate how we approach process in healthcare.

How is your project going to share learning?

1. We will have a Twitter handle with links to a project web page to track progress. this will share learning in real time as much as is possible.

2. We will share the resources developed for acute care process mapping with the Society of Acute Medicine, Ambulatory Emergency Care  (AEC) Network and local and national organizations.

3. Aim to create an industry led interface community where teams can develop skills and tap into resources with rotational experiences to engage and innovate how we approach process in healthcare – this will be in the form of a webpage initially – but would aim to interface via appropriate industry events and networks to attract ongoing input and progressive project development after the initial integration

4. Explore this being part of the Q network – expanded from healthcare with resource and skill base from industry with industry sponsored input in the form of donated time and skill dissemination.

How you can contribute

  • 1. Support in strategic advertisement for industry lean engineer placement
  • 2. Advise regarding the build/expansion of Q community interface with industry leads
  • 3. Adaption of QI methodology into SMART industry methodology.

Plan timeline

1 Dec 2022 6 month


  1. Hi Rachel,

    This sounds really interesting and I will be keen to follow the learning the project will generate. My organisation is considering more detailed LEAN working too and might be an opportunity to share progress?

    1. Would be delighted to!

  2. Hi Rachael - just following Iain's comment, we profiled Iain's work and the work of others applying Lean in these insight case studies (1&6) - there may be some useful learning for your project of how to translate Lean principles into health and care services (David Smith profiled in case study 6 started in the NHS when on furlough during the pandemic).

    There is also useful learning from the NHS pilot to apply the Lean approach of the Virginia Mason Institute

    Best of luck with the project


    1. Dear Jo,

      Incredibly helpful and powerful case studies - thanks so much for pointing me to the resource.


  3. I think Lean skills have a lot offer healthcare, Rachel. Having seconded industry staff into the NHS previously following the economic downturn in 2009, I'm wondering about how sustainable this might be? I wonder if it can be reframed as an initiative to 'Deploy lean process improvement skills into the clinical environment at scale' and focus on how that can be achieve through a combination of local improvement coaching support and scalable digital technology enhanced learning.

    If you're interested in discussing further, what I can offer is a fully developed, tested and ready to go Lean massive-online programme to build exactly the Lean skills you describe already framed and tailored for healthcare. Full details at:

    1. Dear Iain,


      I got struck down with Covid and so have only managed to check in today. Apologies....

      I've been looking at the website and am massively interested in this - the benefit we could achieve from this in my unit is massive!!




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