Ergonomic Value stream Mapping (ErgoVSM) – potential for integrating work environment issues in a Lean rationalization process at two Swedish Hospitals
Conference contribution, 2013
Introduction: Lean is used in healthcare as a tool for business development and rationalization. Lean aims at contributing value from a holistic perspective including reduction of waste. Previous research indicates that this often creates work intensification with possible negative implications for the working environment (WE). WE considerations generally take a back seat on the rationalization process and are most often introduced later in a separate process. This paper reports findings from the Swedish part of a Nordic Multicenter Study where WE considerations have been integrated into a rationalization process based on Value Stream Mapping (VSM). ErgoVSM incorporates aspects of the physical and psychosocial WE into the VSM process. The abstract presents pros and cons for using ErgoVSM in relation to VSM at 2 wards at 2 different hospitals based on some of our preliminary data.
Material and Methods: The case ward (“Ca”) used the ErgoVSM tool and the control ward (“Co”) the VSM tool. The resulting Action Plans were analyzed regarding number of suggested interventions and expected impact on performance (P) and WE. The expected WE impact was finally categorized according to impact at “Task”, “Work Content” and “Work Situation” (Westlander 1993). Two of the present researchers made these assessments independent of each other followed by a consensus procedure.
Results: The Action Plan from Ca comprised 37 and Co 22 interventions. For both wards 65% of the interventions were expected to improve both P and WE. However, for Ca none of the interventions were expected to imply negative or no impact on WE, while this was 23% for Co. For Ca 16% of the interventions concerned Tasks, 46% Work Content and 38% Work Situation. The corresponding results for Co were 55%, 36% and 9% respectively.
Conclusions: The Ca ward suggested more interventions, none of these with expected negative impact on WE and the suggestions were more often at a system rather than task level. The present preliminary data suggest that the ErgoVSM tool facilitate development of an Action Plan that may result in higher organizational sustainability compared with VSM.