Lean Thinking for Primary Care

Prim Care. 2019 Dec;46(4):515-527. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2019.07.009. Epub 2019 Aug 1.


Lean thinking is a leadership, management, and operational approach for continuous improvement. Originally pioneered in Toyota's automobile manufacturing, Lean has now been implemented by health care to focus on improving care to deliver the greatest value for patients and providers. Lean thinking embodies 5 key principles that underpin the thinking and behaviors that are consistent with this management approach: respect for people, leading with humility, pursue perfection, embrace scientific thinking, relentless focus on process improvement. Making the transformation to a Lean organization can be supported by a training program comprising a series of Foundation courses that serves as an introduction.

Keywords: A3 thinking; Daily management system; Gemba visit; Leadership; Lean thinking; PDSA; Standard work; Visual management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Professional
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Leadership
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizational Culture
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Total Quality Management