Kahn-Bahn and Patient Focused Healthcare

What it is – How it works?

Staff Writersaward-cup1


One competitive trend currently emerging is patient-focused healthcare, which focuses on patient needs and attempts to humanize patient care. Patient-focused healthcare therefore incorporates the following:

· patient education;

· active participation of the patient;

· involvement of the family;

· nutrition;

· art; and

· music. 

Improving Patients Outcomes

The above, of course, are thought to improve patient outcomes. Furthermore, some think that patients will benefit from learning how to cope with healthcare processes before they enter into those processes and that this knowledge will result in better outcomes.

An example of this would be classes to prepare couples for childbirth. These classes teach prospective parents the different stages of labor and strategies for dealing with the challenges associated with each stage. They cover options for pain management such as breathing and relaxation techniques and/or analgesics. The classes also provide education about clinical options such as induced labor and caesarian sections, and they cover practical issues such as what to wear and what kind of car seat to buy to transport the newborn home.



Business Processes Re-Engineering

As a result of this movement, some healthcare organizations have tried to re-engineer the processes by which care is delivered in order to make it more patient focused. This is accomplished, in large part, by bringing the therapy to the patient rather than bringing the patient to the therapy.

For example, storing more supplies and equipment in the patient’s hospital room means that more services can be performed in the room. Obviously, this trend has significant implications for the operations management function in healthcare organizations in the areas of layout and human resources management. Supplies and equipment may be arranged differently to facilitate patient-focused care. Considerable staffing changes and cross training may be in order, to provide this type of service. Changes in facility layout to implement patient-focused care and reduce nonproductive movement of patients and personnel should be considered, especially when a facility is contemplating expansion or renovation of facilities.


Kanban (kahnbahn) is the Japanese word that when translated literally means “visible record” or “visible part”. In general context, it refers to a signal of some kind.  Thus, in the business process manufacturing and re-engineering environment, kanbans are signals used to replenish the inventory of items used repetitively within a facility. The kanban system is based on a customer of a part pulling the part from the supplier of that part. The customer of the part can be an actual consumer of a finished product (external) or the production personnel at the succeeding station in a manufacturing facility (internal). Likewise, the supplier could be the person at the preceding station in a manufacturing facility. The premise of kanbans is that material will not be produced or moved until a customer sends the signal to do so.

The leap to hospital and healthcare organization re-engineering is thus not a great one.


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