5S in Healthcare


August 1, 2011
By Darren Dolcemascolo

Developed in Japan, 5S is a system for creating and maintaining an organized, disciplined workplace. In English, we usually use the terms Sort, Set-in-Order (or Straighten), Shine, Standardize, and Sustain (or self-discipline). Sort entails removing all supplies, information, equipment, and materials from the work area that are not utilized regularly. Set-in-Order means organizing and making transparent all items that are needed for regular work so that they can be immediately accessed and used when needed with no delay. Shine means cleaning the workplace and daily restoring the workplace to its "set in order" status. Standardize means creating standards to ensure that Sort, Set-in-Order, and Shine are applied consistently, and Sustain means creating a work environment or culture that maintains the discipline to keep the workplace organized and continuously improve it. The 5S system is an ongoing way of doing work, not simply a 5 step process. It can be used in manufacturing, clinical, and administrative environments.

Let's consider an example within the healthcare environment. Below is a video demonstrating the application of 5S in healthcare from UHN in Canada.

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