Northern Health

About Northern Health

Northern Health is the major provider of acute, sub-acute and ambulatory specialist services in Melbourne’s north. Across our campuses we provide a range of primary, secondary and some tertiary health care services. Our emergency department treats over 85,000 patients each year and we deliver over 3,580 babies yearly.


Process Improvement, Healthcare



Toyota Australia’s formal partnership with Northern Health commenced in 2014 after three months of collaborative fact finding activities to define the project scope, a tour of the Altona plant to see TPS in action, and the development of a strategic plan. The Northern Health-Toyota team then undertook the complex task of mapping a patient’s entire journey through the hospital identifying areas of poor access and flow that lead to staff frustration and poor patient experience.

Through a matrix the team prioritised to reduce the time taken to discharge a healthy patient with the current average discharge time of 192 minutes after the medical decision to discharge. This delay was impacting the treatment times of patients attempting to get into the ward from emergency.


There are many steps to prepare a patient for discharge, in the current situation:

  • It was not always clear what steps needed to be complete and whether they had been done yet.
  • Communication across departments was not always aligned, and not all areas that were required to be involved for the next stage of discharge were aware of this need.
  • The visualisation of a patient’s status and preparedness for discharge was not clear.


In order to implement the improvements Toyota and Northern Health worked together in a workshop focused on reducing discharge times. The team focused on improving the Patient Journey Board to visualise all beds, patient status and next healthy patient to discharge. The workshop also developed one by one discharge processing against a checklist the team prepared. To ensure thorough communication the workshop recommended adjusting the team meeting to be focused on the Patient Journey Board as a central point of status visualisation and information.

After the workshop Northern Health and Toyota members worked together to implement the proposed changes, clearly defining roles and showing that a significant discharge improvement was possible.

Time taken to discharge patient

3h 12m
Before Activity


2h 39m
After Activity


Toyota Production System Support Centre (TSSC) Australia

494 Grieve Parade, Altona North VIC 3025

1300 TSSCAU (877228) |