Improving patient satisfaction using lean manufacturing tools. Case studies from Italy

Andrea Chiarini, Anass Cherrafi


Purpose. The main purpose of this research is to investigate how to improve performances such as patient transportation and waiting times inside a unit of a public hospital from the emergency department. The public health care system is particularly complex and sometimes health services are provided by large hospitals in which thousands of patients are treated every day. Once a patient is inside a hospital he or she often has to travel long distances from one department to another.

Methodology. Though an active research, the logistic flow of patients inside an hospital unit has been analysed, the kind of operations rationalised using group technology and then a ‘cell’ inside the hospital has been designed.

Findings. The transportation cost of patients inside one of the largest Italian public hospitals has been reduced. Consequently, the patient’s satisfaction due to transportation times and a loss of comfort has been improved.

Practical implications. Findings can be very useful for practitioners who are thinking about implementing Lean in the healthcare context.

Originality/value. The cost savings have been achieved using particular tools derived from Lean Thinking, such as ‘spaghetti chart or diagram’, the activity worksheet as well as Group Technology. 


patient satisfaction; case studies; Italy; lean manufacturing

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