Hospital Improves Patient Flow: 90% Seen in Under 60 Minutes

There is a small hospital in Hiroshima, Japan which has been practicing the Toyota Production System for a few years. The Ideshita Clinic neurology and internal medicine hospital that was established in 1992 and has 170 employees. They have observed and timed their processes to identify and eliminate waste. The result has been a reduction in waiting time through improved patient flow. Now 90% of their patients are seen by a physician in under 60 minutes. This has allowed them to see up to 300 patients per day, which puts them far ahead of other hospitals of a similar size in the region.

They were also recently awarded the “High Service Japan 300” which recognizes innovation, productivity improvement and best practices. Each year 20 or so companies receive this award. Ideshita Clinic were the only healthcare service organization recipient.

The photo shows how they use cameras to identify open rooms and equipment in order to guide patients to them.

Mr. Ideshita is leading his small hospital in service innovation by eliminating waste and creating customer value. Whether you are a hospital facing reduced reimbursements or a business facing a drop in demand, those who lead by customer-focused process improvement will survive.

1 Comment

  1. Bill Spohnholtz

    January 7, 2009 - 11:19 am

    About a month back I hit a small hole in the wall office run by a nurse practicioner in my small town in WA. Without all the fancy equipment and big money I was truely impressed how two staff member stay so focused on the customer, keeping cost down by having a fixed office visit price and no insurance claims. I was in and out in 15 minutes and they even caught a problem which was overlooked at my hospital stay the night before! I love hearing when a company (especially a non-traditional one) is focusing on lean principles because it means the standard will shift in that direction leading to better service for me.