The unexpected advent of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a sudden disruption of routine medical care, with a subsequent reorganization of hospital structures and of care. Case studies are becoming available in the literature referring to the logistical difficulties involved in a hospital resuming normal activity following the first COVID-19 lockdown period. This paper details the experience of a study site, a private hospital in Dublin, Ireland, in the redesign of service delivery in compliance with new COVID-19 prevention regulations to facilitate the resumption of routine hospital activity following the first wave of COVID-19. The aim was to resume routine activity and optimize patient activity, whilst remaining compliant with COVID-19 guidelines. We employed a pre-/post-intervention design using Lean methodology and utilised a rapid improvement event (RIE) approach underpinned by person-centred principles. This was a system-wide improvement including all hospital staff, facilitated by a specific project team including the chief operation officer, allied therapy manager (encompassing health and social care professionals), infection prevention and control team, head of surgical services, clinical nurse managers, patient services manager and the head of procurement. Following our intervention, hospital services resumed successfully, with the initial service resumption meeting the organizational target of a 75% bed occupancy rate, while the number of resumed surgeries exceeded the target by 13%. Our outpatient visits recovered to exceed the attendance numbers pre-COVID-19 in 2019 by 10%. In addition, patient satisfaction improved from 93% to 95%, and importantly, we had no in-hospital patient COVID-19 transmission in the study period of July to December 2020.


This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Daly, A., Teeling, S., Garvey, S., Ward, M. & McNamara, M. 2022, 'Using a combined Lean and person-centred approach to support the resumption of routine hospital activity following the first wave of COVID-19', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 9(5), article no: e2754. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052754

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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