ESTIEM Magazine I Autumn 2016 I Disruptive Technologies

Page 26

IEM Students in Healthcare


Facing increasing financial pressure, the healthcare industry seeks operational improvement. Thus, the demand for data-savvy IEM professionals is increasing. Do you have what it takes to develop the quality of healthcare? We all know that lean has its origins in Japan, right?

disease patients was reduced by 30%. On a high level,

Actually, one of the key concepts of lean, waste

the results in Jönköping were achieved by focusing on

reduction, has been topical even before the 1940s

the process as a whole rather than individual functions,

outside of Japan. In 1917, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth

and patient flow rather than professionals.

published a study called “Applied motion study”. The Jukka-Matti Turtiainen

Local Group Lappeenranta

study aimed to increase the efficiency of brick laying

Healthcare as an industry

to build walls; a centuries-old industry with a lot of

Increasing financial pressure (e.g. because of a

potential for improvement. In addition to bricks, the

rapidly aging population) has forced hospitals to seek

Gilbreths applied the improvement methodologies

improvement in operational efficiency. IEM students

to healthcare. Back in the 1950s already, a physician

rarely consider the magnitude of healthcare costs for

challenged their methods: “Now all right, that system

the economy; according to the World Bank, the EU

of yours might be OK in factories…”. Gilbreth cut him

spent approximately 10.0% of its GDP on healthcare

off and said “... and medicine too!”.

in 2014. Furthermore, the costs have been on the rise, growing from 8.3% in 1995. Facing low economic

Operational efficiency in healthcare

growth, the operational improvement in the European

This phrase is still common nowadays and hospitals

healthcare industry is likely to gain even more traction

around the world have embarked on a mission to

in the future.

improve their efficiency and reduce costs. Hospitals have adopted different improvement methodologies

The authors, Mikko and Jukka-Matti, both conducted a

in search of excellence, one of the most common

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt project focused on operational

being lean. These methodologies have led to significant

improvement in healthcare. The key learnings from

savings in several hospitals. One of the successful

those experiences, along with their implications for IEM

cases has been in Jönköping, Sweden; among other

students, are described below.

improvements, the time spent in the hospital by heart Mikko Rajala

Local Group Helsinki

In Jünköpig, Sweden:

30% less

>50% less

time spent in hospital

waiting for referral appointments

References [1] Pioneers of Industrial Engineering and Heath Care:Part 1 by Mark Graban aspx?id=18454 [2] Health expenditure, total (% of GDP) [3] Population ages 65 and above (% of total) [4] Master of International Health Care Management, Economics and Policy Master-of-International-Health-Care-Management-Economics-and-Policy/Italy/SDA-Bocconi/ 26

ESTIEM Magazine |51st issue - Distruptive Technologies

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