Value Stream Map

A visual tool that helps quickly identify sources of waste so you can make tactical improvements where it counts.

What is a Value Stream Map?

Interested in knowing where the bottlenecks and waste are in your processes? Value stream maps are useful tools to help map a process, how long each process step takes, and how many times that process step is performed correctly on the first attempt.

Similar to a process flow, a value stream map, is an enhanced version of a process flow chart with the inclusion of value-added and non-value added activities. Examples of non-value added activities, also known as waste, include waiting, time interrupted from the patient visit, and rework such as how many times a medical billing claim had to be reworked for approval.

Value stream mapping is an essential lean tool that provides an excellent visual on the health of a workflow and helps identify areas in need of improvement based on waste (non-value added) in the process.

With Value Stream Mapping, Practices Can:

How to Conduct a Value Stream Map

  1. First map out the process beginning with the first step and ending with the final step. It is key to clearly define what the start and stop points are in a process; too small of a process and the practice may miss out on key details, too large of a process and the practice may be overwhelmed with observing and collecting data. An example of a patient visit starting point may be the moment they enter the patient waiting room for an appointment or the moment they are brought back to the exam room. 
  2. Observing and documenting the current state of the workflow. Using a stopwatch, pen, and paper one or more individuals will track how much time is spent in each process step as well as how much time in-between process steps. As an example, it may be the patient may wait 5 minutes between completion of intake and beginning of the examination. Both process step and waiting times should be documented. Additionally, it is helpful for the observer to document information flows such as when a MA relays information to the provider or when the provider hands the patient over for checkout.
  3. After collection of data, an analyst will compile data together and create a value stream map using simplified graphics to show flow of information and material.
  4. After discussion and interpretation of the value stream map, the provider and his or her improvement team will identify areas for improvement based on the most needed areas.

Why Create a Value Stream Map?

Placing the information collected from process observations into a simple visual helps everyone on the team fully understand and come to agreement on what is considered value, how value is provided, and where the waste happens. By forming an agreement, practices can gain focus and help eliminate sources of waste and frustration in their everyday workflows. It is important to include key staff members involved in the process to discuss the current state and help identify solutions for improvement. This will help the team build consensus and allow ownership of various process steps.

Ready to Form Your Own Value Stream Map? We'll Help You Design One.

Scroll to Top