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Improving Patient Care While Saving Millions Through Lean

Released on March 2, 2015

Lean has improved patient care in Saskatchewan while achieving more than $125 million in projected financial benefits through significant one-time savings, capacity increases, productivity gains and avoided future costs.

 “Lean is exceeding our expectations in terms of improving the quality and timeliness of services provided to patients - and we’ve only begun to tap its huge potential,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “Although the investment in Lean has paid for itself, the true benefit of this quality improvement work is how it’s making healthcare better on a daily basis for patients and their families.”

The financial savings are due to quality improvements across the healthcare system since 2008.  This information was collected in response to the Provincial Auditor’s recommendation that the province improve the reporting of Lean results.  The most significant results have come from regions with advanced Lean implementation and major capital projects including Five Hills Health Region ($34 million), Saskatoon Health Region ($33 million) and Kelsey Trail Health Region ($3 million).

Information is collected across all entities in the health care system and is approved by each Chief Financial Officer before being entered into Health Quality Council’s tracker system.
Duncan noted that beyond financial savings, there are numerous examples of how quality improvement work puts patients first, including:
  • A new database and care co-ordination that ensures all fragile infants at risk for respiratory complications receive crucial follow-up antibiotic injections; previously, 24 per cent of these infants missed their injections.
  • The elimination of the list of clients waiting more than 30 days for dietician services in Mamawetan Churchill River.
  • The conversion of two offices into exam rooms at Riverside Medical Clinic in Prairie North Health Region meaning 95 per cent% of patients are shown to an exam room within 15 minutes.
  • RQHR paramedics removed duplicate supplies and reorganized ambulances, reducing the amount of time it takes to prepare an ambulance by 90 per cent.
 Information on Lean activities in Saskatchewan’s health system is available at


For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Phone: 306-787-4083
Cell: 306-537-3594

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