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Study: Toyota’s Manufacturing Efficiency Can Help Improve Stroke Patient Care


A new study out on Thursday from Washington University suggests that Toyota's process for maximizing efficiency in manufacturing cars can also help hospitals improve their care of stroke patients.

By applying Toyota's "lean manufacturing" principles, Barnes-Jewish Hospital was able cut the average time it took evaluate and treat stroke patients from an hour down to 37 minutes.

Study lead Washington University stroke neurologist Jin-Moo Lee says for strokes caused by a blood clot in the brain, patients need to be treated with a clot-dissolving medication as quickly as possible.

“The earlier you give it, the more effective the drug is, because what you're doing is you're minimizing brain damage,” Dr Lee said. “As time passes, there's more and more brain damage that occurs after the onset of a stroke.”

Lee says the faster treatment times did not increase patients' risk of brain hemorrhage, a possible devastating side-effect of the clot-dissolving drug.

National guidelines recommend that stroke patients receive treatment within an hour of arriving at a hospital.

Lee says on average nationally, only 30 percent of patients are treated that quickly. At Barnes, that number is almost 80 percent.

Lee's study is published in the journal Stroke.