Horiba Medical and Path Links Pathology Service have released 'TLA - The "Lean" Alternative', a white paper on the application of Lean principles to healthcare.
Lean principles focus on the elimination of waste and offer a variety of tools and techniques to achieve this aim.
The white paper focuses on the practical application of these principles.
A fundamental goal of Lean is to achieve a continuous flow of work through an optimised process.
Batch processing is inherently inefficient, causing delays and bottlenecks.
By applying Lean to enhance work flow, Path Links has achieved improvements in productivity and quality.
Drawing on these experiences, the white paper provides a practical approach to Lean implementation and offers insight into the dos and don'ts of applying Lean theory and practice to the clinical laboratory workplace.
Among many other process redesigns, Path Links has implemented a Lean work cell concept within its blood science laboratories as an alternative approach to deploying a total laboratory automation (TLA) solution utilising highly automated 'tracked' systems.
The Path Links Lean work cell brings together all major laboratory analysers, including ABX Pentra DX haematology analysers, in a U-shaped configuration.
While providing most (if not all) of the benefits of a TLA solution, the Lean work cell provides additional advantages.
These include greater flexibility, reduction in space requirements and avoidance of the large investment and ongoing maintenance needs of a tracked system.
The strength of a Lean approach is to fully understand and optimise work processes and use this knowledge to guide the correct choice of equipment.
Lean processes aim for right-sized equipment, which is usually smaller, less complex, more flexible and less expensive than highly automated systems.