Each $1 saved through Lean costs $1,511, says medical journal

Lean doesn’t help patients, hurts workers

A new study published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care concludes that Lean doesn’t improve patient care – and cost Saskatchewan a whopping $1,511 for each dollar “saved.”

The study and its scathing conclusion was published Jan. 24 and included research from Lean projects in health care around the world, including a look at the Sask. Party’s sweeping use of the John Black Lean program throughout health care in Saskatchewan.

The study should be the absolute final straw for the disastrous and costly John Black Lean program, said NDP Leader Cam Broten.

“I want to stop this toxic experiment and redirect the millions and millions being wasted every year. We can put that money back into actual patient care, directly on the front lines,” he said. “It’s ludicrous that the Sask. Party has doubled down on this disaster so much so that they’re expanding Lean while laying off front-line health care workers. How on earth has their devotion to Lean become more of a priority than patient care?”

According to the study’s findings, Lean doesn’t improve things like patients leaving without being seen by a doctor, patients being readmitted shortly after being discharged, or hospital errors. It concludes: 

  • Lean doesn’t help patient satisfaction.
  • Lean doesn’t help health outcomes.
  • Lean is a financial loser.
  • Lean hurts worker satisfaction. 

“The Sask. Party was sold a bill of goods by out-of-country Lean consultants and they bought it hook, line and sinker,” said Broten. “Patients don’t benefit, health care professionals don’t benefit, and taxpayers don’t benefit. But American and Japanese Lean consultants and a growing, bloated layer of Lean specialists now employed in health care in Saskatchewan – they’re making a lot of money off this program.”

The study concludes that, if Saskatchewan’s health regions’ own reports on savings achieved through Lean are accurate, then each dollar saved in the province cost $1,511. That is a final debunking of the Sask. Party’s bizarre attempt to use savings achieved well prior to the Lean project’s introduction in Saskatchewan, as well as made up, future “anticipated savings” to justify their massive, ongoing spending on Lean.

In December, Saskatchewan’s independent Provincial Auditor reported that Saskatchewan isn’t actually tracking Lean results. So, although the Sask. Party has driven Lean throughout health care and is now pushing it into schools and other sectors, it’s plowing ahead without knowing if Lean helps at all, or hurts.