Case study June 22nd, 2023
Space resource management in active use in Satakunta
Optimizing the number of rooms in hospital facilities is a complex challenge, trying to solve issues like what kind of reception room a surgical procedure needs or the optimal space for a psychiatric admission. In its complexity, optimizing admission spaces in well-being 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 the booking and optimization of hospital reception rooms called the space resource management solution. A suite of tools built on Microsoft’s low-code application Power Platform will help public administrations and services book and optimize 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 well-being services counties, the average occupancy rate of outpatient clinic rooms is as low as 20%. In practice, 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 well-being 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.
At 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 for the solution. For 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 occur in the same room. This means that the professional does not have to leave the room between appointments, provided the available space is suitable for both appointments.
The application’s optimization algorithm was developed in collaboration with the customer. The customer decided on 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 space resource management solution optimizes reservations for available rooms only the day before the appointment. This ensures that each appointment is allocated the most suitable space, considering the 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’ roles from buyers to active developers by involving from the beginning in design and development from the beginning. Cloud technology at the base of the application ensures that development is modern and scalable.
– Anssi Luoma, Project Director of the Satasairaala Hospital Renewal project
Without the pilot, such a space resource management solution for a hospital environment could not be developed and deployed, and the collaboration with 2M-IT and Nortal has been very close.
The newly developed space resource management solution will benefit any well-being services county that wants to improve the efficiency of its facilities.
For example, in Satakunta, a new hospital building was commissioned in 2023, where professionals no longer have their own offices; instead, the space resource management solution has been implemented. The scale of economic savings that this change will achieve is illustrated by the fact that if all professionals still had their own offices, the new hospital building would have 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 be anticipated.
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