CLEAR’s Lean Action Learning Research Collaborative (LARLC) brings together leading hospitals/health systems in the US and Canada, who are committed to lean as an overall management operating system to culturally transform the organization to provide continuous improvement to add value in the delivery of care to patients. Over at least five years, we aim to execute a variety of research projects across the selected organizations, including longitudinal studies, evaluating the impact of lean management on performance outcomes.
LARLC launched in October, 2017, with seven member hospitals/health systems:
- Carolinas HealthCare System (Charlotte, NC)
- Indiana University Health System (Indianapolis, IN)
- Lancaster General Health (Lancaster, PA)
- St. Mary’s General Hospital (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada)
- Sutter Health (Sacramento, CA)
- UCSF Health (San Francisco, CA)
- Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (San Francisco, CA)
LARLC’s research goals are to:
- Work collaboratively with its organizational members to develop a lean research agenda relevant to understanding the effects of lean management interventions in healthcare settings and the contextual factors that influence the effectiveness of those interventions
- Organize teams of academic researchers to conduct the research identified in the research agenda. Not all research will necessarily be conducted by UC Berkeley investigators. Depending on the topic, CLEAR will work with a variety of expert investigators at other Universities.
- Disseminate the results of the lean research through bi-annual meetings at which the research team(s) will present their findings. These meetings will serve as a forum for all participants to discuss the findings and apply the results to improve the implementation of lean at each member organization.
- Disseminate the results of the LARLC research projects through publication in peer-reviewed journals; media outlets, webinars and related sources.
- Where feasible and relevant, develop case studies of successful lean implementations in healthcare organizations that can be used in executive education and related educational programs.
At the inaugural meeting of the LARLC, the members selected two research topics to focus on in the first year:
- We will work to develop a reliable, valid, and operationally manageable assessment instrument (or adapt an existing instrument) to assess the maturity of a hospital’s lean management system. The instrument will be designed to assess on multiple dimensions of lean management in hospitals (e.g., enabling characteristics, lean practices, leadership behaviors, and relational coordination).
- We will examine the relationship between the comprehensiveness of lean implementation, the level of physician participation in lean thinking and practices, and physician burnout in hospitals and clinics.