Transparency in Materials Management

Transparent Material Supply by Multi-Perspective Information Logistics

The efficient implementation of processes is essential for a hospital in order to optimally provide and treat patients according to the latest medical standards. Thereby it is to ensure that the right medicines and medical products reach the right patient »well-documented« and at the right time. Furthermore, numerous other material and information flows between a variety of sections of an institution must be coordinated and organized - from the food and kitchen logistics to the supply of laundry, work clothing and medical equipment, up to the provision of freshly prepared beds.

To ensure that all processes function correctly, efficiently and smoothly, all process participants must get the information they need. It is to make sure that the right information is always provided for the right recipient at the right time and in the right form – and this automatically and without media interruption. The information logistics overall situation is captured and formally displayed in so-called »multi-perspective models«. On this basis, a middleware that is developed in the Hospital Engineering project will automatically derive integration models for involved heterogeneous IT systems of a hospital environment and have them executed. Thereby it is ultimately irrelevant which information lies in which IT system – it is only crucial which employee needs the information in which situation.

A large number of actors are involved in the hospital's material supply: from the external supplier to employees from purchase and warehouse up to nursing staff and doctors on the stations and in the functional areas. The functional departments and stations are interested in automated material requirements planning and delivery and would like to carry out the already very complex documentation tasks in this area as efficiently and automatically as possible. When a product is consumed, all necessary documentation steps are to be carried out "from a single source" without having to update or align own IT systems or even paper lists for surgical and implant documentation, warehousing, care documentation and billing (e. g. patient-related cost unit accounting). The administration, on the other hand, depends on carefully executed consumption documentation in order to be able to generate, for example, case-related cost accountings for controlling purposes. Moreover, it is in their interest to keep the capital tied up in the storage rooms as low as possible by efficient material supply cycles and thus reduced inventories. Purchasing and warehouse, on the other hand, would like to receive up-to-date, error-free and clear demand reports from the departments to be supplied and not to lose track of the ever-increasing stock list and the number of suppliers. But how can the information needs of all process participants in the material supply be satisfied efficiently?

In the project Hospital Engineering, processes and information requirements are surveyed using the example of material supply and are systematically and formally presented using multiperspective metamodels. Thereby, the information requirements of all participating actors – from the treatment to the support process – are recorded and, with the help of an innovative middleware, gradually displayed on the existing IT landscape. To ensure that all the information required reach the right place at the right time, new mobile devices and RFID technology are used.

Project Partners

  • Contilia Management GmbH
  • University Duisburg-Essen
    • Chair for Business Informatics and Business Modeling
    • Mobile Human-Computer-Interaction Group

Project Term

January 2011 to April 2014


The project is sponsored by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the European Union under the funding code 005-GW01-066A.


Project information

(only in German)

Klinikprozesse im Griff durch optimale IT-Integration und Middleware 2.0