Instill Lean A3 Thinking into Healthcare IT Services


  • Jihong Zeng New York Institute of Technology
  • John Zhang New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation



Lean, A3 Thinking, IT Service Management, ITIL, Continuous Improvement


Healthcare information technology is a key enabler for care transformation to provide quality care at low cost and better population health.  Many healthcare organizations have established IT Program Management and adopted ITIL best practice to manage IT services. However, ITIL and traditional project management are heavily process oriented, and neither flexible nor effective enough for swift response to changing business demand. Lean methodologies are increasingly deployed by healthcare providers to improve workflow process management but only has limited use cases documented in healthcare IT service. This paper introduces the Lean A3 Thinking methodology and its value in identifying and eliminating wastes to provide agile and effective solutions in response to customer requests. We present a case study of applying Lean A3 Thinking to improve clinical informatics reporting service. The initial evaluation results are promising and indicate that both ITIL and Lean A3 Thinking focus on customer and service quality, complementing each other well. ITIL provides a framework for ITSM based on a set of best practice to manage IT services. Lean A3 Thinking specifies a set of framework and tools for improving quality of services and processes by eliminating wastes. Proper balance between Lean and ITIL principles for ITSM needs more research and further study.


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