Also Known As
Toyota Production System (TPS)

Smith M, Cunningham S. Case study: using lean principles, how Charleston area medical center ED was able to reduce wait time by 95%. 2007 Society for Health Systems Conference; 2007; New Orleans, LA; 2007.


Lean is a systematic method for streamlining a process by identifying and eliminating unnecessary elements of a process that do not contribute value to the desired outcome or the product being created (also known as waste). The seven types of waste are: motion, defects, waiting, overprocessing, overproduction, transport and handling, and inventory.


To reduce or eliminate "waste" from a process or organization.

Expertise Required
This tool is an advanced tool and requires formal training or education.

Requires low to moderate investment.

Provides effective means of eliminating waste within a process.


Lean strategies can be costly and time consuming.

Where can I go to learn more?

Medical Group Management Association. Think lean: redesign workflow to adopt EHR. MGMA Connexion 2007;7(1):17-8.

Woodcock E. The lean-thinking revolution. Mastering patient flow: using lean thinking to improve your practice operations. 3rd ed. Englewood: Medical Group Management Association; 2009. p. 11-40.

Tague N. Mega-tools: Quality management systems. In: O'Mara P, editor. The quality toolbox. 2nd ed. Milwaukee, WI: ASQ Quality Press; 2005. p. 13-34.

Martin, K. (2007). 5S: A powerful tool for creating high-performing healthcare organizations. 2007 Society for Health Systems Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Johnson C, Allen R, Wedgewood I. Attacking waste and variation hospital-wide: a comprehensive lean-sigma deployment. 2007 Society for Health Systems Conference; 2007; New Orleans, LA; 2007.