Improving eye care services with a lean approach

Juha Matti Lindholm, Ilkka Laine, Heli Hippala, Petteri Ylinen, Raimo Tuuminen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Effective provision of eye care services in government-financed hospitals is essential to balance the discrepancy between growing demand and limited resources. We aimed to improve efficiency of the treatment protocol for Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy. Predetermined quality targets were a patient-oriented and patient-safe approach and the development of a clinical care process with purposeful use of competences. Methods: We utilized a lean process improvement methodology to develop a streamlined Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy treatment protocol. A total of 206 patient visits were evaluated, where the lean-oriented treatment protocol was utilized in 158 of the visits and the conventional (CONV) protocol was followed in 48 of the visits. Results: All baseline variables were comparable between the study groups. Compared to the CONV protocol, implementation of new operational principles shortened the total reception time per patient from 55:36 ± 30:23; 12-136 min to 44:40 ± 4:49; 37-54 min (mean ± SD; range, p = 0.040). The per hour number of patients and eyes treated in the operation room improved from 4.7 ± 1.6; 2.6-8.4 patients and 5.5 ± 2.0; 3.5-11.3 eyes to 16.3 ± 2.3; 14.3-19.4 patients (p < 0.001) and 18.0 ± 1.6; 16.8-20.4 eyes (p < 0.001). The time spent by the operating physician reduced from 8:19 ± 3:06; 3:57-14:30 min to 3:01 ± 1:00; 1:34-6:38 min in unilateral procedure (p < 0.001) and from 8:45 ± 3:55; 5:52-14:10 min to 4:40 ± 2:03; 2:38-10:14 min in bilateral procedure (p < 0.006). Furthermore, the overall patient satisfaction grade improved from 17.3 ± 1.04; 15-18 points to 17.8 ± 0.61; 15-18 points (p = 0.001). Conclusions: The lean approach improved the treatment protocol for Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy with substantial reductions in lead times without compromising patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-728
Number of pages5
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number7
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Lean methodology
  • Nd:YAG capsulotomy
  • Operational principles
  • Productivity
  • Resources for healthcare services

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