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Volume 18, Number 1—January 2012


Use of Lean Response to Improve Pandemic Influenza Surge in Public Health Laboratories

Judith L. Isaac-RentonComments to Author , Yin Chang, Natalie Prystajecky, Martin Petric, Annie Mak, Brendan Abbott, Benjamin Paris, K.C. Decker, Lauren Pittenger, Steven Guercio, Jeff Stott, and Joseph D. Miller
Author affiliations: Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (J.L. Isaac-Renton, Y. Chang, M. Petric, A. Mak, B. Abbott, J. Stott); University of British Columbia, Vancouver (J.L. Isaac-Renton, N. Prystajecky, M. Petric); Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia, USA (B. Paris, K.C. Decker, L. Pittenger); Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (S. Guercio); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (J.D. Miller)

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Lean methods used to improve laboratory workflow

Method Definition
Kaizen The incremental, ongoing improvement process aimed at creating efficiencies and improving all functions. Productivity increases are attributed to eliminating waste in the system and having all staff participate in the process.
Value stream mapping A technique used to identify the materials and information required in each step of a process to deliver a product to a consumer
Andon A visual cue used to monitor functions and to notify workers of a quality or process issue
5S The process of sorting, storing, sweeping, sustaining, and standardizing, which results in a visually managed environment that allows staff to perform tasks more efficiently

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