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Effects of lean interventions supported by digital technologies on healthcare services: a systematic review

Tlapa, Diego, Tortorella, Guilherme, Fogliatto, Flavio, Kumar, Maneesh ORCID:, Mac Cawley, Alejandro, Vassolo, Roberto, Enberg, Luis and Baez-Lopez, Yolanda 2022. Effects of lean interventions supported by digital technologies on healthcare services: a systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19 (15) , e9018. 10.3390/ijerph19159018

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Despite the increasing utilization of lean practices and digital technologies (DTs) related to Industry 4.0, the impact of such dual interventions on healthcare services remains unclear. This study aims to assess the effects of those interventions and provide a comprehensive understanding of their dynamics in healthcare settings. The methodology comprised a systematic review following the PRISMA guidelines, searching for lean interventions supported by DTs. Previous studies reporting outcomes related to patient health, patient flow, quality of care, and efficiency were included. Results show that most of the improvement interventions relied on lean methodology followed by lean combined with Six Sigma. The main supporting technologies were simulation and automation, while emergency departments and laboratories were the main settings. Most interventions focus on patient flow outcomes, reporting positive effects on outcomes related to access to service and utilization of services, including reductions in turnaround time, length of stay, waiting time, and turnover time. Notably, we found scarce outcomes regarding patient health, staff wellbeing, resource use, and savings. This paper, the first to investigate the dual intervention of DTs with lean or lean−Six Sigma in healthcare, summarizes the technical and organizational challenges associated with similar interventions, encourages further research, and promotes practical applications.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1660-4601
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 20 July 2022
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 14:30

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