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University of Saskatchewan hosts first stakeholder meeting on the evaluation of Lean in Saskatchewan’s healthcare system

The University of Saskatchewan hosted the first stakeholder meeting on the evaluation of Lean in Saskatchewan’s healthcare system.  The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has committed to a multi-million dollar investment in implementation of Lean across the province’s healthcare system. With an initial focus on leadership, strategic alignment, training and creation of a supportive infrastructure, the goal is a whole system transformation that produces “better health, better value, better care, and better teams.” 

Evaluating the impact of such an ambitious health system improvement initiative is a complex undertaking and the University of Saskatchewan is leading the way through the guidance of Dr. Thomas Rotter, Research Chair in Health Quality Improvement Science. The research team will be seeking input from a variety of important health service, government and consumer stakeholders to make sure this evaluation answers the key questions surrounding the impact of Lean on the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes. 

“Given the scope and scale of the ambition and the commitment to resources, it is vital that a comprehensive, longitudinal evaluation plan be developed and implemented to support on-going decision-making and program design,” said Dr. Rotter. 

Gill Westhorp, Community Matters Australia, and Leigh Kinsman, Monash University Australia, were special guests at the first stakeholder meeting in June and will continue to work with the team to contribute to improvement science. Gill and Leigh have years of experience in complex evaluation methods and implementation of evidence-based healthcare in Australia. 

Some of the long-term outcomes Lean is expected to generate are reduced wait times for emergency care, improved access to primary health care teams and improved access to surgical and specialty care. This cutting-edge evaluation willmake a significant contribution to the science of health system improvement by advancing the understanding about large-scale improvement interventions, in this case specifically Lean, in the complex environment of healthcare systems.