Purpose: Healthcare provision is costly, and patient expectations are increasing. Lean implemented within healthcare settings is one possible solution for dealing with this issue, with much of the current research in this respect mostly focused on developed countries. The research examines the applicability of lean in the healthcare sector of a developing country, specifically Oman. Design/methodology/approach: Interviews were conducted with 32 individuals representing four public sector hospitals, along with two major hospital suppliers and the Ministry of Health. The readiness of lean thinking was assessed against seven criteria. Data were then analyzed thematically. Findings: The authors found that Oman's healthcare sector is strong on leadership support, understanding value and customer groups, ability to undertake an end-to-end process view and engaging in the required training for lean. Interviewees showed awareness of the challenges, including aligning lean with the strategic agenda of healthcare settings, aligning measurement and reward systems to lean thinking and matching demand and capacity levels. The authors conclude that Oman's healthcare sector is ready for widespread application of lean, and if executed successfully, will generate strong strategic and operational outcomes. Originality/value: This paper provides evidence of the applicability of lean in a very different context to the one that has been generally reported in the literature. The authors propose that lean thinking can be applied in countries and regions with similar cultural contexts such as the Middle East.
- Lean thinking
- Readiness factors