April 12, 2023
With Nortal’s Room Capacity Management solution, the treatment rooms at Satapsykiatria no longer stand empty and their occupancy rate is multiplied. The new psychiatric outpatient clinic building, due for completion in spring 2023, will use this application to increase occupancy from the current 30% to as much as 80%. Without this new solution, it is estimated that up to twice as many rooms would have had to be built. The data-driven Room Capacity Management solution is critical to transforming the work of medical professionals.
(HELSINKI 12.04.2023) The Finnish healthcare and social welfare sector is undergoing major structural and operational changes, with a number of ongoing reform and efficiency projects related to operating models, processes and digitalisation. For example, the number of rooms in new hospital buildings will be designed according to the target occupancy rate of the facilities, rather than the number of staff. In addition to construction savings, this is aimed at optimising the use of rooms for patient care, improving the efficiency of room utilisation and other kinds of saving costs.
Major change in course of action – with assigned rooms, twice as many rooms should have been built in Satapsykiatria
The S-building of Satapsykiatria, opening on the Pori’s Tiilimäki hospital campus in May 2023, is setting an example. The architecture of the building was based on previous research. The patients will be generally accommodated in single rooms, and the facilities have been designed to maximise occupancy, versatility and adaptability. The occupancy rate for the treatment rooms set by former Satakunta Hospital District would have been impossible to achieve, if each staff member had their own room. In this case, twice as many rooms should have been built in the building.
“I’d call this a huge change in mode of operation, practices as well as cultures. Many of our medical staff have been working in their own rooms for decades. This change is a joint effort over several years, and in the future, our staff will have to reserve room capacity as and when they need it. To operate according to this new model, we were in need of a functional room capacity management solution, as it’s impossible to run room reservations on spreadsheets and without functional integrations with other healthcare systems. We did a lot of research, but we couldn’t find an existing solution, so we needed to develop one that met our needs and targets,” says Terhi Kauppila, Change Coordinator for Adult Outpatient Care at Satasairaala Hospital.
Nortal Finland, an information technology and strategic digital business consultancy company, signed an agreement with 2M-IT, an ICT company in the social and healthcare sector, in autumn 2021 for a room capacity management system project for hospital districts. The objective is to optimise the existing facilities and resources in the new hospital building of Satapsykiatria in a way that the basic healthcare service process works seamlessly, and in a patient centred way in the care environment of the new hospital building, where healthcare professionals do not have personally assigned rooms. While the current occupancy rate of the existing facilities has been around 30%, the new Satapsykiatria outpatient clinic objective is to achieve an occupancy rate of around 80% through room optimisation.
The Room Capacity Management solution has been piloted from June 2022 onwards in about 20 rooms in the current Satapsykiatria premises and will be gradually expanded. When the new hospital building is completed, there will be around 100 rooms available and even about 250 users.
“When an appointment has been made for a patient, the system will ensure that the reserved room is optimal for the needs of the patient and the required resources of the treatment. The day before the appointment, our solution automatically optimises reservations to certain rooms, which are suitable for each treatment. The prioritisation of the rooms is based on a wide range of parameters, such as the treatment needs of the patient and the size of the room. The room reserved will be shown in the calendar of the professionals mentioned on the reservation. The integration with the medical record system, where patient appointments are made, saves a lot of time,” Petri Anttila, Nortal Finland’s VP, Government and Health, says.
The medical staff of the Satasairaala Hospital has been very actively involved in the development of the Room Capacity Management solution during the pilot period. Feedback is collected on a weekly basis and functionalities are developed based on the feedback received. The public tender for the system resulted in a low-code implementation, which allows for fast and agile development. Features requested by the medical staff have been implemented and rolled out in weeks instead of months. At the same time, many functionalities are moved to the cloud, making further development easier and faster.
“Without the pilot, such a room management system for a hospital environment could not be developed and deployed, and the collaboration with 2M-IT and Nortal has been very close. The staff at Satapsykiatria have done a pioneering job in using and developing the Room Capacity Management solution, as their contribution will be reflected throughout the hospital and the well-being services counties when the use expands and will influence how room management systems are developed and used in the future,” says Anssi Luoma, Project Director of the Satasairaala Hospital Renewal project.
Already during the pilot phase, thousands of reservations have been made per month. In the future, the data collected during the deployment can be used, for example, to anticipate possible peaks in demand for room reservations. When the Room Capacity Management solution is extended to the entire Satapsykiatria hospital, it will allow the room capacity optimisation in every level of the hospital. In the future, the utilization of occupancy rates and other data will help to avoid the need to rent additional space, for example during spikes in demand or when some rooms are out of use due to renovation.
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