Putting Efficiency into the Hospital System


SchedulerOne of the things I’ve come to realise as I observe the issues facing hospitals is just how important managing efficiency has become. This is an imperative in today’s healthcare environment, not simply a nice-to-have capability.

Hospitals spend a lot of time and use significant resources coordinating appointments, planning patient procedures, and managing the treatment pathway. Too often, problems arise. For example, patients are booked with the wrong physician, or tests that are required before an appointment haven’t been performed, or meds are sent to a patient’s home when the patient is currently in hospital.

Any one of these scenarios wastes hospital resources and the physician’s and patient’s time, and creates anxiety for patients. And, in turn, it puts payers (for the European market, largely governments) on notice that the particular hospital is not operating as well as it could.

Broad Capabilities

There haven’t been a lot of options for hospitals to truly get a handle on the situation. In fact, I’d say our enterprise scheduling solution, UltraGenda Pro is one of a kind. From what I’ve seen, there are a few scheduling solutions around, but the way UltraGenda has responded to the need for broad scheduling capabilities is distinctive in that it’s hospital-wide.

We’ve seen many examples of UltraGenda solutions having a positive impact on efficiency in hospitals. For example, a large NHS Trust in the United Kingdom with hospitals in multiple locations needed help with its outpatient appointment system. Issues the Trust wanted to resolve were: overbooking; lack of efficiency; and a very high rate of non-attendance. UltraGenda was able to achieve this on a large scale, as well as at smaller clinics within the Trust. This ensured that imprecise bookings weren’t made, saving time for both the patient and the physician, and ensuring patients saw the right physician every time and on time.

Managing Pathways

For a hospital using UltraGenda, it’s straightforward to manage the different pathways in a patient’s treatment journey. For example, a patient might need to see an orthopaedic surgeon, but before that he or she will need to provide scans and possibly undergo blood tests. Rather than leave that in the patient’s hands, the scheduling capabilities allow the hospital to make the appointment for the specialist and at the same time the system takes care of the appropriate bookings for any necessary tests. In this case, two hours before seeing the specialist, the patient would go to radiology for a MRI scan, and one hour before the appointment the patient would be booked into pathology for a blood test. The result is no wasted time – either for the patient or the clinician.

Hospital-wide scheduling is a powerful capability and dramatically reduces the risk that the patient will arrive at an appointment without the necessary tests, or that a physician will be double-booked or one of the many other problems that can and do arise in large hospital scheduling systems. Hospital-wide scheduling allows hospitals to optimise their resources and planning and, as a result, operate far more efficiently.

By Gerrit Menkveld, Product Manager UltraGenda – CSC

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