Leading Lean: a Canadian healthcare leader's guide

Healthc Q. 2009;12(3):32-41. doi: 10.12927/hcq.2013.20877.


Canadian healthcare organizations are increasingly asked to do more with less, and too often this has resulted in demands on staff to simply work harder and longer. Lean methodologies, originating from Japanese industrial organizations and most notably Toyota, offer an alternative - tried and tested approaches to working smarter. Lean, with its systematic approaches to reducing waste, has found its way to Canadian healthcare organizations with promising results. This article reports on a study of five Canadian healthcare providers that have recently implemented Lean. We offer stories of success but also identify potential obstacles and ways by which they may be surmounted to provide better value for our healthcare investments.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospital Administration / methods*
  • Leadership*
  • Technology Transfer*