Kaizen Process Improvement in Radiology: Primer for Creating a Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement

Jonathan A. Flug, Jessica A. Stellmaker, Richard E. Sharpe, Clinton E. Jokerst, Chris D. Tollefson, Andrew W. Bowman, Michelle Nordland, Cathy L. Hannafin, Adam T. Froemming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Kaizen process improvement is an element of lean production that is an approach to creating continuous improvement. Kaizen is based on the idea that small ongoing positive changes in workflow and elimination of waste can yield major improvements over time. A focused Kaizen event, or rapid process improvement event, can lead to sustainable process improvement in health care settings that are resistant to change. This approach has been proven to be successful in health care. These events are led by a trained facilitator and coach who provides appropriate team education and engagement. To ensure success, the team must embrace the Kaizen culture, which emphasizes the development of a "learning organization" that is focused on relentless pursuit of perfection. The culture empowers all staff to improve the work they perform, with an emphasis on the process and not the individual. Respect for individual people is key in Kaizen. In radiology, this method has been successful in empowering frontline staff to improve their individual workflows. A 5-day Kaizen event has been successful in increasing on-time starts, decreasing lead time, increasing patient and staff satisfaction, and ensuring sustainability. Sustainable success can occur when the team stays true to lean principles, engages leaders, and empowers team members with the use of timely data to drive decision making. Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-928
Number of pages10
JournalRadiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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