Concurrent Sessions

C4 – Thinking outside the box: Applying Lean tools in primary care

Theme 4. The “How to” stream

Presentation Details

  • Date: Thursday, October 25, 2018
  • Concurrent Session C
  • Time: 8:45-9:30am
  • Room: Harbour B
  • Style: Panel Discussion (in addition to providing information, panelists interact with one another to explore/debate a topic)
  • Focus: Practical (e.g. Presentation on how to implement programs and/or practices in the team environment)
  • Target Audience: Leadership (ED, clinical lead, board chair, board member, etc.), Clinical providers, Administrative staff

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn about the successes and obstacles of applying Lean tools and techniques to improve clinical processes with a patient-centered approach in primary care teams. Attendees will learn about primary care processes in which the Lean tools can be applied to, and adaptation of these tools to work in primary care settings. Attendees will also gain an understanding of the importance of documenting processes such as project schedules and steps taken to engage team members in the application of the tools.


In January of 2018, six Quality Improvement Decision Support Specialists (QIDSS) completed Lean Green Belt training which was offered in part of AFHTO’s Information to Action Initiative. The training consisted of a five day in-person course, as well as weekly teleconference calls with the Lean facilitator for a total of 5-months. Each QIDSS and their associated Family Health Team developed an improvement focus in which their team would dedicate time and resources to applying Lean tools and techniques to. Some of the improvement focuses included: improving phone access, improving access to urgent care services, improving patient flow and improving immunization rates. Through the engagement and collaboration of staff and key project members, each QIDSS has applied specific Lean tools such as Value Stream Mapping, Gemba, 5S and PDSA cycles to identify, plan and improve on targeted areas. These tools and techniques have identified areas in which processes can be streamlined and modified to improve results. From Northern Ontario to the South-West, the diversity of the project teams across the province demonstrates the fluidity and flexibility in the application of Lean tools.


  • Laura Belsito, RD, MAN, AFHTO
  • Cameron Berry, CHIM, QIDSS, Kawartha North FHT
  • Brice Wong, MSc, QIDSS, Leamington and Area FHT
  • Meghan Peters, QIDSS, City of Lakes FHT

Authors & Contributors

  • Cameron Berry, CHIM, QIDSS, Kawartha North FHT
  • Meghan Peters, QIDSS, City of Lakes FHT
  • Brice Wong, MSc, QIDSS, Leamington and Area FHT
  • Charles Bruntz, MSc, QIDSS, Timmins FHT
  • Laura Belsito, RD, MAN, AFHTO
  • Patsy Morrow, KM&T