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Applying lean principles to the design of healthcare facilities

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Christian Hicks, Professor Tom McGovern, Iain Smith


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The National Health Service has a total capital budget of approximately £4bn per year, which is spent on new and existing buildings. A large proportion of capital costs are committed by early stage design decisions, which also have a large impact on operations, costs and the environment within which healthcare is delivered. 3P is a participative design methodology that employs Lean principles and seeks to take into account the requirements of a wide range of stakeholders at the conceptual design stage. There are various interacting flows including: patients, clinicians, visitors, medication, supplies, equipment, waste and information. The design of facilities determines the allocation of space to different stakeholder groups, as well as flow and interactions, which can have an impact on the quality and efficiency of care. This paper describes the 3P method and its application in healthcare. It reports the results of research with the North East Transformation System (NETS) Team. As part of their Lean Design of Space (LDoS) Project, the NETS Team has piloted the 3P methodology with Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust to design new endoscopy and maternity facilities. The research has evaluated the design process through observations and interviews to identify its strengths and limitations. The outcomes of the design process, which are compared with the existing facility designs, were analysed quantitatively using selected Systematic Layout Planning tools. The results show that 3P is an effective tool and that there was a considerable reduction in the distance travelled by patients.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hicks C, McGovern TW, Prior G, Smith I

Editor(s): Grubbstrom,RW;Hinterhuber,H;

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 18th International Working Seminar on Production Economics

Year of Conference: 2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900