Efficient use of facilities in wellbeing services counties

May 15, 2023

2M-IT, in partnership with Nortal, offers an agile solution for booking and optimization of hospital reception rooms. 

“Nowadays, when wellness services counties build new hospitals, their professionals are rarely – if ever – offered their own offices”, Roni Turtiainen, Development Manager at 2M-IT, begins.

Instead, hospitals are aiming for so-called efficient square footage, which means that the goal would e.g., be that hospital rooms are occupied at least 70 percent of the time.

“This is a very ambitious target, since currently the occupancy rate of hospital facilities is between 20 and 30 percent”, Turtiainen states and continues:

“This is therefore a significant change in operations for social and healthcare services. And when one must give up a benefit they have earned, in this case your own office, it can naturally cause considerable resistance. “

Part of a larger social welfare and healthcare governance project 

2M-IT is working together with Nortal and two other IT consultancy companies on a joint development project for production management for four welfare areas. The goal for the project is to improve the daily life of employees and patients by enriching the information in the patient medical record system.  

“We are developing a modern environment for production management, which is strongly based on products by Microsoft. Obviously, the goal is also to generate savings for the wellbeing services counties, for example in development costs,” Turtiainen says.  

 “We want to develop solutions piece-by-piece, from small parts and without a so-called “big bang”. We are using agile software development methodologies. We want to change the end users’ and our customers’ role from buyers to active developers, by involving them from the beginning in design and development. 

One of the replicable products developed through this joint project is the Room Capacity Management solution, which was the result of this close collaboration between Nortal and 2M-IT. It is a suite of tools built on Microsoft’s low-code Power Platform, which will help hospitals in reserving and optimizing the use of rooms.  

“In Satakunta, a new hospital building will be commissioned in 2023, where professionals will no longer have their own offices,” says Turtiainen.  

“The scale of economic savings that will be achieved by this change, is illustrated by the fact that if all professionals still had their own offices, the new hospital building would have had to be three times bigger than it is now.” 

 Tackling resistance to change 

“If you think about this transition e.g., from the perspective of a professional who has been working from the same office for 20 years, this change is significant”, Turtiainen admits.  

The challenge for end-users in the new setting is that they need to find a space for themselves to deliver their services and receive their patients.  

“Having your own office might in some ways have been a so-called symbol of status – or at least an acquired benefit – and now the professional is being told to find a room for every appointment through a booking system. This can understandably lead to strong resistance to change”, Turtiainen explains.  

In Satakunta, the pain and resistance to change has been alleviated by involving their experts and professionals from the very beginning, in designing and developing the application for managing room reservations.  

“We have worked together to find a solution that can help professionals manage their own workdays and leave more time for the actual patient appointments.”  

The joint, interdisciplinary development has been made possible by Microsoft’s low-code development platform Microsoft Power Platform 

Power Platform’s tools provide fast, agile and visible results using ready-made components, instead of a team in the background developing a solution”, says Turtiainen.  

“The visual nature of Power Platform has enabled our customers end users to be involved from the beginning, and we’ve been able to do the right things to make their everyday lives easier. Instead of them now telling us what they want and not getting it until two years later, with low-code tools we can give them a concrete answer to their wishes in just two weeks. The speed has naturally also boosted enthusiasm. When professionals see a real opportunity to make a difference, and we at the same time can quickly deliver results that are visible to end users, we reinforce the feeling that they are being heard and that their wishes are being implemented,” says Turtiainen.  

Modern tools ensure the best possible results 

The Microsoft Power Platform has provided several other benefits besides speed, iterative and visual benefits to the development of the Room Capacity Management solution. The platform’s rich integration interfaces and more than 900 ready-to-use connectors have enabled connectivity to a wide range of back-end systems, providing a gateway for implementing automations that make users’ lives easier. 

“The first requirement was, naturally, to integrate the patient record system, which allows a scheduled appointment to automatically generate a room reservation. The Azure AD-integration in turn allows access to the application with the same user IDs as accessing other systems. With the Outlook-integration, the room status information is published directly into the professional’s calendars. This makes the professional’s workday as smooth as possible”, Turtiainen begins.  

“The integration with Modulo, the master system for room management, enables centralized access to room information in the application. The connection to self-check-in-booths also lets patients know where the professional is and where the appointment is taking place”, he continues.  

2M-IT is an in-house provider that offers its services to its own clients, such as wellbeing services counties. Turtiainen believes that the newly developed Room Capacity Management solution will benefit any wellbeing services county that wants to improve efficiency of its facilities.  

“The use of cloud technology at the base of the application ensures that development is modern and scalable”, he says and adds:  

“The joint development environment provided by 2M-IT as service integrator enables efficient multi-vendor development involving not only numerous end customers, but also multiple system providers.”  

Optimizing the right space for the right need 

Naturally, the main objective of developing this solution has been to ensure that there always is a space available for all professionals and each appointment. The implemented application optimizes and selects the best possible free space, taking into account the different requirements of the various reception services. According to Turtiainen, there is one important factor that distinguishes the Room Capacity Management solution from other ready-to-use solutions on the market: 2M-IT, end customers and Nortal have in co-operation built an optimization engine in the application, which ensures that the best possible space is always available for a certain service. It can take into account, for example, the distance between reception rooms or locations on different floors, thus minimizing the time professionals spend moving around the facilities during the workday. It also allows unexpected changes, such as renovations or repairs, to be handled in a way where they do not burden the professionals’ daily routines.  

Measuring and monitoring the use of premises can also be easily implemented with the Room Capacity Management solution. The application can be used to check e.g., the occupancy rates of different rooms and what services have been provided in them. In addition, various notifications can be built into the application, e.g., for situations where the upper limits of room occupancy rates are approaching.  

“Resistance to change has also been reduced by the fact that management level has found that they can use the system to receive transparent reports on where bottlenecks occur in their operations,” Turtiainen says.  

In addition to improving the day-to-day operations of individual hospitals, the information gathered by the application can also be used to optimize future construction: when planning new hospital buildings in wellbeing services counties, it will also provide a general baseline data and an understanding of how many and what kind of facilities to provide services in are worth building.  

 “Cooperation with Nortal has been open, honest and pleasant,” says Turtiainen.  

“During this development journey, we have learned together about the day-to-day work of a social and health services professional, and how to make things easier for them. Nortal has been actively involved in developing the Room Capacity Management solution and in the operational change, which has played a big role in this project,” he concludes. 

Petri Anttila

Petri Anttila

Partner, VP, Government & Health

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