Critical Innovation: Process Improvement in the ER

In 2013, Lynchburg General Hospital in southwest Virginia stood out in its industry for its emergency room that maintained high standards of care while serving close to six patients per bed per day. With 42 beds, that amounted to 2,143 patients per bed per year, while 1,200 was considered to be the maximum achievable. How was that possible?

With lean production principles, the hospital’s medical director, Chris Thomson, and his leadership team analyzed the capabilities and restraints of the emergency department. He and process engineer Jennifer Stowers examined the department’s processes and physically walked through the hospital to uncover inefficiencies. The key limitations of the department were number of beds and staff hours, so improvement had to optimize the use of both.

Learn what innovative policies and procedures they implemented in Rebecca Goldberg, Professor Elliott Weiss and Chris Thomson’s article “Innovation Helps Lynchburg General Hospital Serve Emergency Patients Better,” in the Darden School of Business/Washington Post “Case in Point” series.

About the Faculty

Elliott N. Weiss

Weiss is a top authority in many aspects of manufacturing, including inventory control, manufacturing planning and scheduling, manufacturing project management, materials management, service industry operations, total productive maintenance and lean systems.

Weiss is the author of numerous articles in the areas of production management and operations research and has extensive consulting... Learn More