Clear order and organization of tools, equipment, and personnel are crucial components for businesses to ensure daily operations run smoothly and efficiently. These components are even more critical in medical facilities where staff is challenged with providing safe and effective care space, especially in life-and-death scenarios. At the Regional Nephrology Centre (RNC) Dializa in Poland, disorder in utility rooms caused cramping of space and confusion among staff while seeking treatment devices for patients suffering from chronic kidney disease and other ailments. Acknowledging their facility had plenty of room for improvement in the utilization and organization of facility space, RNC leaders sought to improve management of their equipment to increase patient safety and work quality of medical staff.
By improving order and organization, RNC staff would not only address accessibility and safety concerns for staff and patients, it also would affect the bottom line as it decreased the possibility of damage to medical devices by not moving equipment from place to place.
But in April 2014, standards were not followed by employees and equipment was misplaced, creating delays and problems for nurses and other medical staff as time was wasted—critical time that should have been spent with patients. “In rooms were things that shouldn’t have been there,” said Katarzyna Z?otowska, lean hospitals engineer at the RNC to improve clinical processes and supervise quality management systems.
Disorder not only created confusion among staff members, but also potential obstacles during times of emergency when patients would need quick and timely transport through or out of the facility.
Visual management (VM) is a lean management tool used in many industries as well as in typical life. The main purpose of VM is to improve processes and define how processes should proceed through visualization. It relies on pictures, graphs, sounds, and visual signals, that if properly used, can organize one’s work space, increase efficiency of a room’s arrangement, and provide precise rules on a space’s purpose.
This communication technique brings self-control around the worksite through standardization and continuity of action. Using VM in hospitals ensures specific work standards by comparing current state with future state through medical process flowcharts, process maps, and other means, creating an opportunity to evaluate if a specific current state is correct, or if there are mistakes or aberrations. VM makes work easier for hospital staff while increasing patient safety.