Lean Process Map
A visual tool that details an individual’s specific process including time, flow, and common mistakes and problems.
What is a Lean Process Map?
In the world of healthcare, very rarely are two processes exactly the same down to the most minute of details. Lean Process Maps show the details of each step in a process or workflow, time measurements, and how often the process step goes perfectly on the first attempt.
Similar to a process flow chart or a value stream map, the Lean Process Map differs in that it is highly detailed and requires direct observation.
With Lean Process Mapping, Practices Can:
How to Conduct Lean Process Map Activity
- First identify the start and stopping points of a process. The shorter the process the better. As an example, a process beginning with a physician entering an exam room and ending with the physician leaving the exam room for the next patient may be a total of 4 process steps.
- Have 1 or more individuals directly observing the process several times to have a good understanding of what to look for. Then, using a pen, paper, and stopwatch document all observations connected to each process step. The observer may document when the process step started and finished, if any interruptions to the process took place and why (if known), as well as the flow of people, material, or information in each step. As an example, a typical patient visit may take 15 minutes, but may vary from 15 to 20 minutes due to interruptions and correcting information in the chart.
- After collection of data, an analyst will compile data together and create a one page Lean Process Map showing the approximate range of time spent in each process step, how often the step was performed correctly on the first pass, and the causes to an interruptions in flow.
- After discussion and interpretation of the Lean Process Map, the physician and his or her improvement team can begin to tactically tackle areas of concern including large variances in patient visits, common interruptions, and causes of rework and frustration.
Why Create a Lean Process Map?
By reviewing processes at a granular level, sources of waste and rework become readily apparent. By recording multiple occurrences of the process it validates and creates a baseline for how a process is performing and if any difficulties arise in the process. By placing the collected information in a simple to read one page document, healthcare teams can fully understand together the common aches and pains in a process and use teamwork to combat them. This will help the team work together for a common cause.