Ascom Wireless Solutions is a leading provider of on-site wireless communications. More than 75,000 Ascom systems are installed at major healthcare institutions and companies all over the world. Ascom offers a broad range of voice and professional messaging solutions, creating value for customers by supporting and optimising their mission-critical processes.
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Location: Dijon, France (ALT/ Côte d’Or)
Ascom solution: real-time patient transport management solution based on Ascom a71 paging handsets
With more than 6000 employees, including medical and paramedical staff and logistical/technical support providers, and 1069 beds, Dijon University Hospital Centre (UHC) is the largest enterprise in the Côte d’Or. The hospital has also become a model in France, and perhaps Europe, for managing internal patient transport after implementing an Ascom real-time management solution.
Previously, 60 full-time transporters and three dispatchers, working between the care units and the technical levels, handled an average of 600 patient transports daily. Today, that figure has almost doubled, translating into 16,500 patient transports every month. At the same time, 90% of patients now arrive on time at the unit, compared to 50% before the solution was deployed.
Meeting the challenges
Since 1996, the hospital’s information flow downstream of dispatch (transport management, follow-up, etc) had operated in a traditional manner – essentially manually. This involved either using a printed or handwritten list of tasks or assigning tasks orally. Without a real-time overview of the transport, productivity was compromised. This was primarily due to random management, erroneous interpretation of messages sent and no recording of events – making any analysis or gathering of statistics a laborious task.
Optimising patient transport
“Our overall objective was to get a real-time overview of flow and patient transport management to increase both productivity and added value in the interest of better hospital operation,” says Jean-Yves Gerbet, Head of Project and Responsible for the UHC Patient Transport Service.
To meet the growing challenges of patient transport in terms of both number and complexity, Dijon UHC asked Ascom France to design an efficient, real-time planning solution. The application, consisting of software associated with an Ascom mobility solution, met several key objectives, including a better respect for patient appointment times, optimisation of transporters’ time, faster transport planning and the ability to trace events associated with the moving of every patient to every destination.
Complete traceability and transparency
The hospital’s Patient Transport Service therefore equipped its transporters with Ascom a71 paging handsets. This solution ensures an optimum security level by guaranteeing the rapid sending and receiving of written information. The overall system provides transporters with specific, intuitive actions throughout the transport process.
“The operative principle of our system, data transmission by means of the new tool, is simple”, explains Jean-Yves Gerbet. “Information essential to transport is transmitted to the transporter’s device in total confidentiality, exactly as it is entered by the caregiver when the electronic request is made. The transporter then confirms the assignment, the carrying out of the transport and its completion once the patient has been brought to the destination and her/his medical record has been handed over to the caregiver. If necessary, the transporter can now notify of any adverse events that disrupt transport, such as a patient or medical record that is not ready.”
The information flows (from the care units to dispatch; from dispatch to the transport service; and from the transport to dispatch) are perfectly traced and enable bidirectional exchange. Within just two months, the entire team had adopted the new system.
Transporters – at the heart of it all
With the new system, the transporter is at the heart of the hospital’s process. Jean-Yves Gerbet explains: “For each care unit, each transport minute is charged. We operate within the institution as a service provider and follow-up of patient transport ‘consumption’ now makes it possible for each transporter to bill each care unit indirectly, based on the services the unit requires. Previously, the total bill was divided equally among the care units.”
“These objective key performance indicators re-qualify the transporters’ work, since they now have responsibility for real-time data analysis. Recurrent inefficiencies at the care-unit level, such as patients not being ready, making trips for transport teams pointless, have now been reduced. Internal transport has become logistically simpler, it now being an added value in overall hospital operation.”
Quick return on investment
“With the minute cost of the operating area estimated at €85,” explains Jean-Yves Gerbet, “it is easy to understand the importance of good patient transport management!”
With the Ascom solution, Dijon UHC has significantly reduced empty trip-time and improved assignment consolidation and reaction to delays. As a result, the Patient Transport Service has been able to double transport volume, with only a slight increase in personnel, from approximately 400 to 800 transports daily. Other system inefficiencies, such as waiting time, have also been greatly reduced. Today, 90% of patients now arrive on time in the operating area, compared to 50% previously.
“A solution based on our needs”
“We chose Ascom because their products are very solid and robust – important in our constantly on-the-move environment,” explains Jean-Yves Gerbet. “The products are also very user-friendly; the transporter learned it all after just 15 minutes.”
“I particularly appreciate the quality of Ascom’s understanding of our needs and the way they have followed up the project. After all, as with every ‘new adventure’, we depend on our suppliers. The Ascom team was always there to help us improve our procedures and solve problems, in partnership with our patient-transport software application provider. Today, we have a system that works perfectly.”