To investigate if Lean was implemented effectively and sustained in Irish Histopathology laboratories.
Objectives of Study:
To examine the Lean implementation process in Irish Histopathology laboratories. Examine if Lean transformation only focuses on Processes, or if Philosophy, People and partners, and Problem-solving have also been embraced. To investigate if management support, and lead Lean. To examine how Histopathology laboratories provide customer value. To examine how Lean processes implemented have been sustained. To explore if automation is a necessary element of Lean. To examine variations in implementation and sustainability between ROI public and private Histopathology laboratories.
Nature and Scope of Research Undertaken:
An inductive, double-phased, mixed-methodology approach was applied in this study. Primary qualitative data was collected in the form of semi-structured IDIs. Three Laboratory Managers were interviewed providing expert opinion on Lean across Pathology departments. The data was coded and analysed, meaning was derived from the interviews, and the questionnaire was developed. This focused specifically on Lean in Histopathology and was distributed to the entire population of Histopathology CMSs in the ROI and NI constituting a census.
Lean has been led from within in the 57% of cases. Philosophy, Process, and Problem-solving have all been embraced to varying degrees, but People and partners is the most poorly implemented “P”. Balancing workflow seems at present unachievable due to large, unscheduled sample deliveries and work-creep from outpatient departments. Architectural limitation is the biggest impediment to achieving optimal flow design. Automation while necessary for the improvement of certain processes, is not considered a necessary element of Lean. This study found little variation between Lean in public and private Histopathology laboratories in the ROI. Instead it indicates a united profession striving to provide high-quality service while facing common challenges.
Contribution Made to the Knowledge of the Research Topic:
There is a notable absence of published information on Lean in Histopathology services in Ireland. This research aims to fill that knowledge gap, providing current information on the opinions and experiences of those working in the profession. It will also serve as a platform for further research and will be of interest to the HSE as it provides insight into the challenges faced by Histopathology departments nationally in sustaining Lean.