Applying Industrial Management Methodologies to Healthcare
Tutor / director / evaluatorBrown, Terrence
Document typeMaster thesis (pre-Bologna period)
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
The recent delicate economic situation has contributed to the fact that several of the existing industrial management techniques, initially conceived in order to improve manufacturing enterprises’ efficiency, have gained popularity not only within the industrial field, but also in the services sector. In that context, healthcare is facing a complicated situation on account of a reduction of resources and an increase of incoming patients. When applying existing industrial management techniques to healthcare, to consider the human factor may be of great assistance given the particular nature of organizations such as hospitals or clinics. The purpose of this thesis is to firstly conduct a study of potential problem areas that could have a negative effect on healthcare organizations’ efficiency, specially taking into account the human factor. Then, the aim is to make considerations about how those problems could be addressed using industrial management techniques. Opinions from healthcare employees have been recompiled in a survey, regarding potential problems that might take place in their departments. The studied industrial management methodologies are Lean, Six Sigma and Theory of Constraints (TOC). Results show that the most critical problems which are affecting to healthcare departments’ are related to the personnel and motivation fields. However, singular problems have also been highlighted addressing other areas related to communication, information and operating & distribution issues. This objective information yielded by the survey has been useful to identify concrete problematic situations from the lower levels of the system. It is a fact that the hereby stated industrial management techniques did not congregate the desired characteristics by themselves to approach all the highlighted problems; but, once it was established what to focus on, they substantially matched the different issues when considering their individualities or when combining them in order to approach the needed improvements. That is why, when trying to apply industrial management methodologies to healthcare, organizations might save time and money by first addressing to the employees from the different involved departments.