5-S Lean Healthcare Program:

5-S is an integral part of the Lean Healthcare process which promotes "A Place for Everything and Everything is in it's Place". The 5-S’s are Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Schedule and Sustain. When 5-S is performed as the first step of a Lean Healthcare effort, processes become more visible and identified “waste” is cleaned out. While change is often perceived with a sense of apprehension, participants in the 5-S program begin to taste change as something that can be positive and even fun, paving the way for a true Lean Healthcare transformation. 5-S clearly communicates that management is willing to allow the employees to be involved in the process of change. The goal of the program is to have a workstation and office area that is Joint Commission ready at all times. 5-S creates a neat, clean and orderly environment that will become a source of lasting pride for all employees.

The benefits of Healthcare 5-S implementation as part of a Lean Healthcare initiative includes:

HPP’s 5-S Services are offered at three different levels to serve three different objectives:

5-S Blitz – This session is three days to one week in length and involves working with a team from a particular area or department in the facility. The week includes a combination of classroom work and department or floor work. In the classroom, the team will learn the basics of 5-S and Lean Healthcare, including definitions, benefits, and scoring system. On the floor, the team performs an initial 5-S evaluation to establish a base line. Then the 5-S training is actually implemented in the team’s areas to give them an enhanced understanding of the 5-S principles as part of a Lean Healthcare strategy while making positive, visible changes to the work environment. An inspection and “score” follow. Teams then learn and develop a plan for sustained, ongoing improvements to make the work area “world class”.

General Workforce Training - This training is 1½ - 2 hours in length and involves groups of 15-20 participants. It is a condensed version of the 5-S Blitz activity in which the general workforce learns the "high level" basics of 5-S Lean Healthcare in a classroom setting and then moves to the specific site area to see examples of 5-S. This training is an excellent supplement to the 5-S Blitz Activity as it motivates your associates and staff to sustain the gains made during the blitz.

Independent 5-S Audits – Once the initial 5-S program is put into place in your facility, maintaining the integrity of program and the scoring is essential to continued improvement. HPP offers a program for monthly or quarterly audits of your program by one of our associates. These unannounced audits are performed with an eye for improvement opportunities and serve to keep your scoring system properly calibrated.

5-S Steps:

  1. SORT (Disposal)
    Clearly distinguish between what is needed and kept/what is unneeded and thrown out. Keep only what is necessary in the work area. Store often used items at the work area, store infrequently used items away from the work area and dispose of unneeded items.
  2. STRAIGHTEN (Arrangement)
    Organize the way necessary things are kept, making it easier to find and utilize them. Everything has a place and everything in its place, providing an efficient way to find items. Not having to search for items saves time.
  3. SWEEP (Cleanliness)
    Floors, walls, ceilings, equipment and furniture are kept in like new condition. The area is kept clean on a continual basis because an unclean environment cannot produce quality care. A clean workplace is indicative of a quality process.
  4. SCHEDULE (System Methodology)
    Each department or area maintains a schedule to insure that the first three S’s - Sort, Straighten and Sweep are maintained, preventing regression back to a cluttered and unorganized environment. Items are returned to their designated places after use. The need for special clean-up efforts, which cost time and money, are eliminated. Clean while the task is small – routinely when a task is complete.
  5. SUSTAIN (Disciplined Culture)
    Practice and repeat the process until 5-S become a way of life. 5-S housekeeping is built into the everyday processes in a continuing, sustaining way. Commitment and discipline toward housekeeping is essential in taking the first step to becoming a World-Class producer.

5-S Training Outline