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The application of Lean and human factors engineering techniques to improve quality in healthcare delivery

Justin B Rousek, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Healthcare-related errors harm millions of American patients each year and needlessly add billions of dollars to healthcare costs. With current healthcare organizations serving more patients, providing more services and addressing more quality issues, organizations need to consider ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Quality improvement techniques make it possible to revise operations to improve efficiency and safety while serving clinical requirements. Two effective quality improvement techniques that can improve healthcare delivery are Lean and human factors engineering (also known as ergonomics). Lean aims to eliminate waste to create a more efficient workplace. Human factors engineering focuses on human capabilities and limitations to enhance performance, safety and user satisfaction. The objective of this dissertation is to improve the quality in healthcare delivery by utilizing both of these techniques. This involves identifying and increasing awareness of a variety of healthcare delivery inefficiencies and mitigating these problems with Lean and human factors engineering initiatives. The healthcare delivery inefficiencies researched in this dissertation include: (1) hospital wayfinding difficulties; (2) poor laparoscopic surgery tool design; (3) underutilization of prophylaxis during venous thromboembolism (VTE) assessment in patients at admission; (4) poor hospital code cart medication drawer design; and (5) decentralized mobile asset management. The research findings from this dissertation demonstrate how the implementation of Lean and human factors engineering initiatives can improve quality and patient safety within diverse healthcare delivery problems.

Subject Area

Industrial engineering|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Rousek, Justin B, "The application of Lean and human factors engineering techniques to improve quality in healthcare delivery" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3518156.