Strategic Lean Implementation Methodology (SLIM) in Healthcare

Archived Article • 26 May 2010 • Feature

Strategic Lean Implementation MethodologyLean in Healthcare - more than a Rapid Improvement Event (RIE)?
Strategic Lean Implementation Methodology (SLIM) in Healthcare is the title of a Warwick Business School research project involving a cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by Dr Zoe Radnor and Professor Stewart Robinson. The project seeks to explore the use of computer simulation modelling alongside Lean implementation in healthcare.

To date, a number of case studies have been conducted in hospital Trusts across the country including some Rapid Experiments using simulation as part of Lean implementation.

Earlier this month, a research dissemination event entitled Lean in Healthcare: More than an RIE? took place at Heartlands hospital in Birmingham and was attended by more than 40 practitioners and academics from across the region. The aim of the event was threefold, with practitioners keen to share experiences of Lean implementation in hospital trusts and to learn from the experiences of others.

The novel application of simulation modelling alongside Lean was showcased with the aid of presentations from case study trusts that have been involved with the rapid experiments designed and led by the research team at Warwick.

Thirdly, the 'next steps' of the research was presented for discussion and feedback. Presentations took place throughout the day from leading academics and practitioners from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, and Royal Bolton NHS Foundation Trust showcasing through poster presentations the work and impact of Lean in Hospitals. Two of the posters highlighted the SLIM project involvement which had helped in developing new insights into implementing process improvements in a healthcare setting.

Next Steps . . .
The concept of 'SimLean' was introduced to the gathering by Professor Robinson of the Operational Research and Management Sciences Group at WBS as "a novel application of simulation in healthcare". Building upon the data collected by the research team through the case study evaluations and rapid and longitudinal experimentation with simulation modelling as part of Lean activity in hospital Trusts, the research team have developed an approach that utilises simulation to educate and engage staff in the principles of Lean.

The approach of 'SimLean' uses modelling and simulation during Lean events to support developing a deeper understanding of Lean as well as capturing live data which can be revisited and interrogated as improvements are made to the process.

Feedback data collected on the day confirmed that 90% of the academic and practitioner community found the event informative and stimulating, 70% state they have learned something new and over 90% would like to learn more about SimLean as the research develops.

To find out more about SimLean and how we are testing the framework in hospital settings please contact the SLIM research team on

To find out more about the dissemination event and view presentations and photos of the day please go to the SLIM research website on the link below.


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