Case study June 22nd, 2023
Hospital's occupancy rates will be multiplied by Nortal's room capacity management solution
Optimizing the number of rooms in hospital facilities is a complex challenge, trying to solve issues like what kind of reception room does a surgical procedure need, or what is the optimal space for a psychiatric admission. In its complexity, the optimization of admission spaces in wellbeing services counties is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of the public sector’s facility management.
Together with our customer 2M-IT, we have developed an agile solution for booking and optimization of hospital reception rooms, called the Room Capacity Management solution. A suite of tools built on Microsoft’s low-code application Power Platform, which will help public administrations and services in booking and optimizing the use of facilities.
It is common for public administrations and services to be full of inefficient processes, routines and manual steps that slow down customer and patient service and frustrate the already overburdened staff. For example, in older hospitals in wellbeing services counties, the average occupancy rate of outpatient clinic rooms can currently be as low as 20 %. In practice, that means that an admission room can be empty up to four out of five working days a week. If the occupancy rate was closer to the target of 70 %, the wellbeing services counties could invest the money they save on rent, heating, lighting and building maintenance, in patient care instead.
The main objective of developing this solution was to ensure that even though professionals no longer have their own offices, there’s always a space available for all professionals and each appointment.
In the beginning of the project the cornerstones of the customer’s operations were defined: what kind of services are being provided, how many rooms are available for use e.g. in the entire hospital or in one of its outpatient clinics, the total number of professionals working on the premises and which space is suitable for which service.
In addition to the basic parameters, a myriad of different customer-specific rules can be defined to the solution. As an example, we defined a “two and a half hour rule”: which means that if a professional has at least two appointments during a 2.5 hour period, these appointments will take place in the same room. This means that the professional does not have to leave the room between appointments, provided that the available space is suitable for both appointments.
The application’s optimization algorithm was developed in collaboration with the customer. The customer decided the prioritization order of the requirements and we translated the requirements into technology. For example, it can take into account that the busiest doctors with consecutive appointments should be able to stay in the same room for as long as possible. Professionals with more sporadic appointments can move from one room to another between their appointments – but even in these cases, it is prioritized e.g. that these rooms are located on the same floor. This is all based on the requirements of the appointments, e.g., in terms of equipment needed for a procedure
In hospitals, outpatient appointments are usually booked well in advance. The now developed Room Capacity Management solution optimizes reservations for available rooms only the day before the appointment takes place. This ensures that each appointment is allocated the most suitable space, taking into account different requirements of the various reception services, thus ensuring efficient use of space, and minimizing last-minute changes.
We developed the solution piece-by-piece, from small parts and used agile software development methodologies. We wanted to change the end users’ and our customers’ role from buyers to active developers, by involving them from the beginning in design and development. The use of cloud technology at the base of the application ensures that development is modern and scalable.
– Roni Turtiainen, Development Manager 2M-IT
Cooperation with Nortal has been open, honest and pleasant.
The newly developed Room Capacity Management solution will benefit any wellbeing services county that wants to improve efficiency of its facilities.
For example, in Satakunta, a new hospital building has been commissioned in 2023, where professionals no longer have their own offices, instead The Room Capacity Management solution has been implemented. 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.
The key benefits of this solution include not only the automatic optimization of space and transparency of room reservations, but also the ability to start forecasting and optimizing space for the future. As the system accumulates historical data on the service demands, future needs can begin to be anticipated.
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