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Table 2 Comparison of participants’ understanding of lean and quality improvement

From: Does lean muddy the quality improvement waters? A qualitative study of how a hospital management team understands lean in the context of quality improvement

Aspect Lean QI
Purpose To focus on patients and become effective and efficient (Theme 1)
Definition Change strategies to continuously improve care processes by engaging employees through the creation of a culture of improvement (Theme 2)
Roles Managers should be present and supportive; front-line staff should take initiatives (Theme 3)
Expected effect A better work environment and lowered costs (Theme 4)
In practice Lean is an operational strategy to improve care processes at the unit level (Theme 7) Lean is a philosophy incorporating strategies and a methods toolbox (Theme 9) QI is a natural fit for health care and an effective organizational strategy (Theme 5)
Lessons learned Exercise caution with terminology which staff might find foreign to health care (Theme 8) QI enables staff and managers to question and improve work practices (Theme 6)