The Red Cross Hospital (RKZ) in Beverwijk is experiencing strong growth in the area of capacity management. For some three years now, the hospital has been working on a smoothly running health care process, based on the LEAN philosophy. "The time for the next step has come", according to Jaap van den Heuvel (Chairman of the Board), Vincent van Ham (Capacity Manager) and Kees Broekman (Health Care Manager).
Hospitals face a continuous challenge in the area of logistical planning. The RKZ is no exception to this. Three years ago, the hospital embarked on the LEAN path, which resulted in a virtual control tower. Chairman, Jaap van den Heuvel: “ We needed a coordination/control point which ensures that the patient is provided with an optimal health care process with optimal capacity utilisation. We consider it our social duty not to waste anything."
Tight planning system
Keeping in mind that smaller hospitals have an unquestionable raison d’être, so long as they have their logistics and costs under control, the hospital has given its capacity manager, Vincent van Ham, free rein to consolidate this logistical challenge of the hospital.
This has resulted in a 'rather tight logistical planning system for elective care', as it is called by Jaap van den Heuvel. Vincent van Ham: “Our focus in this is on customer-directed care. We want to do everything to avoid patients being placed on a waiting list so that they have to phone us unnecessarily to find out when it is their turn."
is the key to
Involvement of all forums
After extensive analyses, it was evident that there were substantial peaks and valleys in the work pressure. As a result, the hospital decided to change the OR planning. All stakeholders are involved in this change process and have contributed to this. Health Care Manager, Kees Broekman: "We have considered all parties that are affected by this change and have had consultations with both the OR Council and individual professional groups to explain -based on the occupancy rates- the added value this change can offer us. We have been very transparent towards all involved and are convinced this has been the key factor in its success."
New way of thinking
Together with the practitioners, the planners have also been involved in the new trajectory. Kees Broekman: “Through training, we have involved them in our new approach and way of thinking. This soon led to a 6% growth in the clinical occupancy of the hospital, with the same capacity."
The 'traffic tower' initially looked ahead for a week, then two weeks and finally, according to Jaap van den Heuvel, Chairman, the time was right to broaden the horizon even more. "To help us with this, we needed the correct software and a reliable partner for the further development in the area of capacity management. We are very pleased that our EPD supplier, ChipSoft, has taken the initiative for the integral support of the capacity management. Equipped with considerable expertise and years of experience, ChipSoft is an ideal partner to embark on this." Vincent van Ham: "We have started immediately on researching how we could develop tactical solutions together to plan thirteen weeks ahead."
Jaap van den Heuvel: “Up to now we have collected and processed all data by hand ourselves, but the next phase is to automate all of this. I have high expectations for this from HiX. You need advanced maths skills to plan this. In addition, sensitivities have to be excluded, such as practitioners insisting on giving priority to their patients as against another specialism."
According to the three gentlemen, integrated ICT in the EPD plays a crucial role in their follow-up process towards integral capacity management. Jaap van den Heuvel: “The sky is the limit when you can increasingly integrate more capacities to the one order for which a patient is on record, for a gall bladder operation for instance. Also in future, with increasing use of Artificial Intelligence, an integrated system is essential."
Whereas the RKZ is primarily focused on elective care with capacity management, the hospital also pays close attention to acute care. Kees Broekman: “However, this is not where we expect to achieve the main benefits with capacity management." Jaap van den Heuvel: “We could do with an intelligent system to make prognoses. If we, for instance, could incorporate the time of the year, the day of the week, the weather, temperature, a planned event with large data solutions, that would be wonderful."
“Integration also essential for application of AI"
essential for application of AI”
The sooner the better
"When there is a fun fair in Heemskerk, occupancy in the emergency room is doubled", Jaap van den Heuvel continues. "One could incorporate all of this in your automation." Capacity manager Vincent van Ham has a few minor reservations. "You have to take the horizon into account within which information becomes available. You know about the fun fair well in advance, but weather forecasts are only fairly reliable five days or so in advance. The sooner you have knowledge of something, the sooner you can plan."
Integrating staff deployment
The large dot on the horizon is crystal clear to the Red Cross Hospital. Kees Broekman: “We are very much focused on the optimal utilisation of capacity. Pretty soon we also want to implement an integration with staff deployment. To me, the ultimate goal is reached when a patient reports to reception and, having decided he has to undergo an operation, we can activate the process by pressing a button, complete with lead times, the necessary resources and manpower. When I order an item from Bol.com, I can track the trajectory of my parcel at any given time. It is our ambition to achieve this for health care as well."
Jaap van den Heuvel: “Bol.com may well be a rather simple example, with one package and one trajectory, but you can imagine that all capacities have to be planned from one central idea, one after the other - as we also have linked all modalities to a system, one after the other. That way you know: someone has to undergo a certain operation, needs certain examinations and scans before the time, after the operation there must be a minimum number of nurses in the department, etcetera.
At the moment this is still a distant prospect, but by supporting our capacity management with HiX, we are making great and rapid strides."