The management of healthcare-related infections through lean methodology: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.


Hospital efficiency; Healthcare; Lean management, Nosocomial infections


Introduction: Lean is largely applied to the health sector and on the healthcare-associated infections (HAI). However, a few results on the improvement of the outcome have been reported in literature. The purpose of this study is to analyze if the lean application can reduce the HAI rate.

Methods: A comprehensive search was performed on PubMed/Medline, Scopus, CINAHL, Cochrane, Embase, and Google Scholar databases using various combinations of the following keywords: "lean" and "infection". Inclusion criteria were: 1) research articles with quantitative data and relevant information on lean methodology and its impact on healthcare infections; 2) prospective studies. The risk of bias and the study quality was independently assessed by two researchers using the “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) quality assessment tool for before-after (Pre-Post) study with no control group”. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines has been used. 22 studies were included in the present meta-analysis.

Results: Lean application demonstrated a significant protective role on healthcare-associated infections rate (RR 0.50 [0.38-0.66]) with significant impact on central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) (RR 0.47 [0.28-0.82]).

Conclusions: Lean has a positive impact on the decreasing of HAIs and on the improvement of compliance and satisfaction of the staff.


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