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Clin Leadersh Manag Rev. 2006 Mar 28;20(2):E2.

Faster, better, cheaper: lean labs are the key to future survival.

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Department of Laboratory Services, Good Samaritan Hospital, Dayton, OH, USA.


Process improvement techniques have been used in manufacturing for many years to rein in costs and improve quality. Health care is now grappling with similar challenges. The Department of Laboratory Services at Good Samaritan Hospital, a 560-bed facility in Dayton, OH, used the Lean process improvement method in a 12-week project to streamline its core laboratory processes. By analyzing the flow of samples through the system and identifying value-added and non-value-added steps, both in the laboratory and during the collection process, Good Samaritan's project team redesigned systems and reconfigured the core laboratory layout to trim collection-to-results time from 65 minutes to 40 minutes. As a result, virtually all morning results are available to physicians by 7 a.m., critical values are called to nursing units within 30 minutes, and core laboratory services are optimally staffed for maximum cost-effectiveness.

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