Incorporation of lean methodology into pharmacy residency programs

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The implementation of lean methodology into pharmacy residency programs at a community teaching hospital is described.


New Hanover Regional Medical Center, a community teaching hospital in southeastern North Carolina, fully adopted a lean culture in 2010. Given the success of lean strategies organizationally, this methodology was used to assist with the evaluation and development of its pharmacy residency programs in 2014. Lean tools and activities have also been incorporated into residency requirements and rotation learning activities. The majority of lean events correspond to the required competency areas evaluating leadership and management, teaching, and education. These events have included participation in and facilitation of various lean problem-solving and communication tools. The application of the 4 rules of lean has resulted in enhanced management of the programs and provides a set of tools by which continual quality improvement can be ensured. Regular communication and direct involvement of all invested parties have been critical in developing and sustaining new improvements. In addition to program enhancements, lean methodology offers novel methods by which residents may be incorporated into leadership activities.


The incorporation of lean methodology into pharmacy residency programs has translated into a variety of realized and potential benefits for the programs, the preceptors and residents, and the health system. Specific areas of growth have included quality-improvement processes, the expansion of leadership opportunities for residents, and improved communication among program directors, preceptors, and residents.

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