Process Optimization in Care

Process Optimization in Care - Investigation of Transport Logistics in the Elisabeth Hospital

Commissioned by the Elisabeth Hospital in Essen Fraunhofer ISST documented and analyzed the processes in the different areas of the hospital logistics and worked to improve this. The Elisabeth Hospital is the oldest hospital in Essen and is with 613 beds the second largest hospital in Essen. Within the project, the logistics-related tasks have been studied in the field of care from a holistic and neutral perspective. With particular regard to the information situation, the given technology support and the sharing of resources in the departments the processes were investigated for improvements with the aim of relieving the care.

The considered support processes usually take place in the background, unnoticed by the patient, and make sure that the primary treatment process works smoothly. Considering the totality of all processes directly or indirectly involved in the treatment of a patient, one is confronted with a variety of activities of many people of different professions. The spectrum ranges from the nurses station on doctors, administrative staff and surgical team up to employees of the bed central or the material store.

The project at the Elisabeth Hospital was divided into several phases: During the initial analysis, the processes were imposed, analyzed and documented after a fundamental consultation and preparation. Loads of the nursing staff were thereby evaluated depending on the severity and assigned to different classes of problems. The loads could therefore be attributed to e. g. organizational, structural or information technology causes. During the design phase the existing burdens were addressed depending on the severity and solutions were developed by reorganization and restructuring of sub-processes or the use of proven or new technologies. Also the use of IT systems to optimize the flow of information was determined. Particular emphasis was placed on the practical relevance and cost effectiveness of the solutions proposed, that means by economic and qualitative assessments of the solutions, the expected benefit was quantified and the ROI indicated. Here, the pass of a patient through the hospital has been designed by taking into account all interfaces in the "overall process healthcare" and primary treatment processes have been interlocked with treatment processes of individual functional areas and support processes of other departments.

Due to the three-step approach of survey, analysis and design, practical recommendations could be worked out and proposed. The optimization measures ranged from minor organizational changes to larger investments whose benefits could be sophisticatedly shown by the accompanying economic analysis. Here, the use of research results from the research project Hospital Engineering proved especially helpful because in this way dependencies among various problem areas and the recommended measures from the therein developed optimization methods could be shown for the first time according to the latest scientific findings. The close contact with the client, the nursing staff and the staff in the individual service facilities also guaranteed to directly develop practical solutions immediate to the problems of users and to scientifically justify.

Project Partners

  • Elisabeth Hospital Essen