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SPONSORED FEATURE: “Clinical logistics are saving patients’ lives”


19 May, 2015  

INSIGHT Clinical Logistics supports workflows throughout the hospital. The unique user-friendly design and the integration of multiple platforms make the system preferred by healthcare professionals

Maquet

This remarkable statement is a quote from a newspaper post by Ole Thomsen, CEO of Healthcare in Central Denmark Region. 

In the post, Ole Thomsen cites a study revealing that mortality is 9% higher in overcrowded hospital wards compared to wards with a normal state of occupancy. According to Ole Thomsen, this problem can be solved with a clinical logistics solution. Regional Hospital Horsens has substantial and positive experiences from using INSIGHT Clinical Logistics for more than five years. 

”Clinical Logistics enables hospitals to optimise the staff capacity to the current patient situation and avoid that single wards are put under too much strain”, Thomsen says. 

In his experience, clinical logistics used to involve telephone calls and handwritten notes, which quickly became outdated in a busy hospital environment. “With Clinical Logistics, we immediately find the answer in the system which always conveys a real time overview of the occupancy of the different departments. This way we avoid patients waiting unnecessarily”, Thomsen says.

Clinical logistics is key to an efficient hospital

Hospitals are always looking for ways to improve workflows and operational efficiency so that throughput increases without compromising quality or safety in treatment.

Jørgen Schøler Kristensen is a medical doctor, holds a doctorate in haematology and is working as Chief Medical Officer at the Regional Hospital Horsens in the Central Denmark Region. He strongly agrees with the views of Ole Thomsen on INSIGHT Clinical Logistics. In an article in the Journal for Danish Health Care, he points out that: ““The efficient hospital” is characterised by stringent logistics and coordination”. As Jørgen Schøler Kristensen puts it, “this is one – if not the – essential key to securing fast and efficient high quality patient flows. In addition, the working environment of the staff is improved at the same time.”

According to Jørgen Schøler Kristensen, logistics is an important lever in the development of future healthcare because we need to treat an increasing number of patients in a shorter time span. At the same time, more patient flows are growing ever more complex and the organisations handling the patient flows are getting larger. This demands efficient and well-coordinated workflows alongside maintaining, preferably improving, patient safety and overall quality.

Logistics is of great value

One of the departments where INSIGHT Clinical Logistics has had a tremendous impact on the execution of the daily operations is the surgical ward.

Jørgen Schøler Kristensen explains that the workflow in the surgical ward consists of a vast number of serial actions involving staff from a number of different departments. The serial nature of the workflow has the distinct consequence that delays and errors propagate onto the subsequent actions of the surgical flow.

Ole Thomsen adds: “Whenever a patient is in surgery, the doctors are easily and efficiently able to communicate with the staff outside the operating theatre by updating an electronic touchscreen. This is relevant in many cases, for instance if a member of the surgical team is running late or an additional specialist is needed for surgical assistance. The staff outside the operating theatre stay updated and are able to effectively plan the next activities via the status changes conveyed to them from the operating theatre. “This makes sure that the patient has a good and safe course of treatment all the way from layering to anaesthesia, surgery and recovery”.

Ole Thomsen explains how clinical logistics is also of high value in the emergency departments where there is a large flow of patients. “We get an overview of the incoming patients and are able to prioritise the patients who are in the greatest need of acute care. At the same time we are able to see which doctors and nurses are attending to each patient and make sure that the right staff are assigned to the particular patient,” Thomsen says. “Furthermore the system provides us with a detailed overview of the individual patients’ flow. This makes us able to stay ahead and be prepared for the next step”. 

Jørgen Schøler Kristensen points out the differences from before to after implementation of the INSIGHT system for clinical logistics:  

“Before the implementation of the system for clinical logistics, the overview of the surgery programme for the day only existed on a large piece of paper, which was manually updated with acute surgeries and other changes during the day. Changes and other new information had to be communicated by phone and only the staff in the operating room had knowledge on how far along the ongoing surgery was.

Today, the complete real time overview of the programme for the day is available on the interactive large screens and staff are able to edit information during the day which is instantly available in all screens all over the hospital.”

The results in short

Jørgen Schøler Kristensen points out that several actions have been taken to describe and measure the gains from implementing the system for clinical logistics in the Central Denmark Region. “Both qualitative and quantitative studies show that clinical logistics provides a better overview, improves communication and supports efficient coordination and in effect optimises the collective workflows.

At the same time all users of the system say that it has resulted in a higher quality of treatment and has improved patient safety”, he says.

The same conclusions were reached in a Medical Technology Assessment carried out by the Centre for Public Health. Finally, the one evaluation done of the system in an Emergency Department was carried out by Regional Hospital Horsens. The evaluation showed an increase in production of 19% in the course of 18 months from the system implementation.

Ole Thomsen sums up the reason for Central Denmark Region to implement the system for clinical logistics: “This way, the healthcare regions are constantly working on improving work flows in hospitals and making them more flexible. Because we do not believe that time heals all wounds”.

INSIGHT for better logistics

Jørgen Schøler Kristensen is of the view that “The efficient hospital” demands systems and processes that both support and contribute to the further development of good communication, coordination and overview during the execution of daily clinical work. In his experience, INSIGHT Clinical Logistics is that kind of system.

The system has two main user interfaces:

  • Firstly, the large interactive screens placed strategically in the departments.
  • Secondly, the browser-based interface “Anywhere”, which is accessible on all PCs, laptops and so on. The Anywhere is also available for mobile devices.

On the interactive large screens, the clinical staff are at any given time presented with a full overview of patients, staff, treatment activities, surgeries, test results and so on, in real time. The staff are at any given time able to edit information and changes are instantly (in under one second) visible to all staff on both interactive large screens and Anywhere. Jørgen Schøler Kristensen points out that this is key to enhancing cooperation among staff as well as between departments and the systems’ incorporated webcams and chat functionality supports communications. 

Ole Thomsen wants clinical logistics to go further. He explains: “The vision is that the overview that clinical logistics provides today on large touch screens will ultimately be in the pockets of the healthcare professionals, where it is constantly within reach”.

www.maquet.com/insight