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FOCUS PDCA – A Lean Tool For The Healthcare Industry

With a core objective of maximizing customer value while minimizing waste, Lean management principles are widely used in most industries, and healthcare is no exception.

FOCUS PDCA is a Lean tool developed by the Hospital Corporation of America to specifically address the complex challenges the healthcare industry faces from increasing quality demands and continued pricing pressures.  The tool provides a structure to guide problem-solving and process improvement activities by establishing a comprehensive analysis, response, action plan, and feedback loop that ensures success. 

FOCUS PDCA is comprised of two components – one used to identify and the other to implement.

FOCUS – Identifying the Process Improvement

FOCUS is an acronym whose steps help to simplify the process of identifying the area of a healthcare organization that requires improvement, bringing together a team capable of achieving that improvement, and selecting the best possible solution to implement the improvement.

Broken down by its parts, here is how FOCUS works:

Find a process to improve – Identify the process improvement opportunity

Organize the effort to work on improvement – Identify who the key stakeholders in the process are and who should be part of the improvement team

Clarify current knowledge of the process – Leverage stakeholders’ input to ensure that all information has been gathered and there is a consistent mindset on both the process improvement opportunity and the direction of the proposed solution

Understand process variation and capability – Identify potential process variations, small or large, and their possible effects on change implementation.

Select a strategy for continued improvement – Select an implementation strategy, outline the expected results, and identify success criteria using the information gathered from the above steps as input.

PDCA – Implementing the Solution

Once the FOCUS process has identified the area for improvement, brought together a team, and found the best possible solution, it’s time to implement that solution. 

The PDCA portion of the tool identifies the process to successfully implement the changes and verify that the desired result has been achieved.

  • Plan – Create an action plan for implementation, including a list of required steps, the implementation schedule, ownership, and responsibilities, and desired outcomes.
  • Do – Start implementing the plan, following the Plan steps, and adhering to the schedule to stay on track.
  • Check – Take measurements against the success criteria set when selecting the strategy to ensure the implementation is progressing as it should be.
  • Act – Based on Check results, determine the process was successfully changed; or return to the beginning of the cycle if it did not meet goals.

A Practical Application

Although developed specifically for healthcare, the FOCUS PDCA tool covers all the basic components needed for improvement in any business process, and over the past 12 years, Trindent Consulting has successfully applied lean process management concepts in healthcare, energy, and financial services.

Click here to learn more about how Trindent can help healthcare organizations tackle their unique challenges.