What spinal fusion can learn from Toyota's lean principles

Written by Laura Dyrda | August 16, 2018 | Print  |

When a group of surgeons decided to apply the lean principles made popular by the Toyota plant to spinal fusion procedures, they were able to deliver better value for care.


In an Oxford University Press blog post, surgeons and researchers discussed how they applied lean principles to lower back spinal fusion procedures. The lean principles include:

1. Identifying an area for improvement.
2. Observe the process to find wasteful components.
3. Examine all steps of the process to determine necessity.
4. Make the change for process improvement.

The authors of this article began by creating a map of steps during the surgical procedure and then tracked time and waste for each step. After identifying wasteful steps, they were able to eliminate the waste for process improvement. Then, the researchers analyzed results.

"Operating room efficiency is a natural target for process improvement aimed at improving the value of care overall," they wrote. "The operating room is a system within itself; nurses, students, technicians, anesthetists and surgeons work together to provide the best care they can. Despite best intentions, every system has inefficiencies which can be improved upon to lower cost."

More articles on spine and neurosurgery:
Top 25 hospitals for neurology & neurosurgery: U.S. News & World Report
28 spine devices receive FDA 510(k) clearance in July
U of Arkansas welcomes new neurosurgeon: 3 details

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