Sunshine Coast University Hospital optimises efficiency using Columna Flow Task Management
At Sunshine Coast University Hospital in Australia the user-friendly Columna Flow Task Management system established effective workflows and helped motivate staff.
In March 2017, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) opened the $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) as the first new, not replacement hospital in Australia in 20 years. This included investments in more than 1,000 new staff members as well as state-of-the-art equipment. All to provide excellent healthcare services to an increasingly growing population.
The size of the hospital is impressive; it has a capacity of more than 700 beds and can be expanded to 900 beds beyond 2021 if needed. Among other things, this includes an emergency department, state-of-the-art bed wards, and a Maternity Service department that has seen more than 1,000 new Australians being born in less than a year. All in a facility, covering a surface area of 400,000 m2 equivalent to approximately 100 football fields.
The Operational Support Services looks after all the non-clinical functions of the hospital. For this unit the main challenge was to ensure optimal service efficiency in a facility of this impressive size.
The underground service tunnel at SCUH stretches alone 490 meters from the Facilities Management Centre to the main hospital building, thus, service staff could easily spend a lot of time overcoming the tyranny of distance.
With this in mind, Operational Support Services searched for an IT system to support a more efficient model of service delivery with multi skilled Patient Service Assistants capable of working in any ward or department. A solution that Systematic’s Columna Flow Task Management could cover.
The following were the primary system criteria
- A system with a high degree of user-friendliness, especially seen from the clinical perspective when ordering service tasks
- A self-automated system that would allow Patient Support Assistants (PSAs) to pick up relevant jobs or jobs near to them, without having to wait for their next job to be allocated to them by a supervisor
- A system that as a minimum would allow management easy access to reporting and business insights, enabling operational changes to ensure optimal efficiency and business support.
Although, Systematic was an unknown company to SCHHS, the company is not new to software solutions for healthcare. With more than 20 years of experience dealing with progressive and innovative hospitals in Europe, Systematics healthcare offerings range from a comprehensive Electronic Medical Record to a full suite of Hospital workflow solutions.
Columna Flow Task Management is meeting the initial criteria of a high degree of user-friendliness for clinicians with a simple and intuitive user interface, which also provides status feedback on tasks by means of colour changes in the different task type icons.
An integration to the Patient Administration System (PAS) ensures that only a minimal amount of typing is necessary, as the Patient Unique ID automatically fills out the name field or vice versa if the clinicians starts out typing the name first. Furthermore, the last known location of the patient is automatically inserted which means that all patient transports and patient assists have a suggested origin - small yet effective measures to help in the busy working life of a nurse.
Integration to service call buttons at the bed wards was also implemented. This ensures that by a single press of a button, clinicians can generate service tasks in the Columna Flow Task Management system – either a PSA assist or a discharge clean. The results of this integration are fast assistance and efficient turnaround times for single occupancy rooms at SCUH.
The second criteria of the system was important as allowing Patient Support Assistants to allocate jobs to themselves instead of always waiting for their supervisor, however in the Columna Flow Task Management system, SCUH found, it was not necessarily a situation of having either or, because both options were available as a dual workflow.
In the Columna Flow Task Management solution, the PSAs see a list of relevant tasks to choose from on their handsets, either listed in order of priority and time or by distance to the task origin. One could see it as being an efficient ‘Uber’ system for the PSAs.
Ollie, a SCUH PSA, is clearly happy with the system:
“The visibility of tasks is good – the timeframe – all the information is there …. before we did not have that. It has made our lives easier".
In addition, if assistance is needed for handling two-person tasks one simply swipes right and a list of the nearest colleagues appears.
The majority of tasks are handled by the PSAs at SCUH, but supervisors also have a clear view of all tasks from the Task Overview screen in the Columna Flow solution. It is also from this screen that they can manage the workloads of each PSA and assign a task directly. This enables managers to balance the service demand with the resources available across teams and departments.
The Management Information Download allows SCUH to generate and analyse information about its service operation using the 10 built-in standard reports.
The business insights from the Columna Flow solution for SCUH has helped build awareness of what the department actually do on a daily basis – as expressed by Catherine Buick, Director for Operational Support Services.
The Columna Flow Task Management system has allowed a range of small and efficient teams under Operational and Support Services to execute more than 45,000 tasks a month. This is quite impressive considering the size of SCUH and the distances which PSAs must travel. The digital solution has also allowed PSA teams to meet internal KPIs and improve response times.
The Columna Flow solution plays a significant role in making all this possible, as it ensures transparency and efficient handling of service tasks.
"Without the system, we would not have been able to have our new model of care, necessary for this large facility, working so efficiently", Catherine Buick, Director for Operational Support Service.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) provides public health care to communities in the Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie local government areas of southeast Queensland. The catchment extends from the coast to the hinterland, from Caloundra in the south to Gympie in the north. Currently, this covers a population of about 400,000 people. In March 2017, SCHHS opened Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH) as part of the vision, delivering ‘health and wellbeing through exceptional care’.