Data-driven solution helps hospitals prevent bottlenecks
In a pilot project between Aalborg University Hospital (AUH) and Systematic, hospital staff have tested a digital solution that provides dashboards of current and upcoming tasks that included expected waiting times at specific locations. The solution has successfully been piloted in four departments at the hospital, and staff have experienced optimized workflows and better overview of potential bottlenecks.
Hospitals encounter a wide range of challenges from delivering high-quality patient care to enhancing operational effectiveness - with the common need for more staff. Gaining access to relevant workflow data and using it to make adequate decisions can be challenging. Without it, decisions are often based on gut-feelings, which can lead to misaligned expectations and misunderstandings. Furthermore, data is usually only used in a retrospective manner since it is rarely available in real-time, making it difficult to use proactively. As a result, service personnel and clinicians lack the condensed information they need to make important decisions.
To address these challenges, Systematic conducted a pilot of the solution Columna Flow Command Centre at four departments at Aalborg University Hospital: medical laboratory technicians, radiology as well as the porter and cleaning services. The evaluation was conducted over a two-month period in 2022, and the users have been very happy with the solution. So happy that they have requested to keep the solution permanently.
"I was a bit sceptical when they came by to install and explain the system - mostly because I was busy and couldn't see why we needed anything new. But after a few days with the system, I must say that I will have a hard time doing without it, when I’m superseding in the office in the future” explains one of the porter coordinators.
The Command Centre solution offers personalised dashboards displaying the current tasks being handled, the current unassigned tasks as well as upcoming tasks. Furthermore, the solution presents a median of the average waiting time for a certain task at a certain location. These new dashboards were made available for 25 Managers or Coordinating Managers with the purpose of reducing bottlenecks by better prioritisation of tasks and available staff.
“With a safe environment, mutual respect, and good humour, we can go far together. This is what the cooperation between Systematic and AUH has shown, explains Managing Medical Laboratory Technician, Camilla Wesenberg Holm Andersen.
Columna Flow Command Centre provides an overview of the patient flow, capacity, and current task load, as well as trend forecasts, allowing hospitals to make proactive decisions to ensure the most efficient workflows. The data-driven visual dashboards offer a quick and easy way to monitor and optimise the hospital's performance within specific departments, giving staff and management the tools, they need to make informed decisions.
"We still need to get to grips with it in the field, but on a day-to-day basis it helps to see how the flow is in each team so we can spot any bottlenecks. We can move resources from one team to another to maintain flow. Of course, this is not done without dialogue as it depends on the type of task that is "stuck", and how each team experiences the workload, says Head of department, Susanne Ladefoged Christensen
The solution provides an overview of the individual teams and their tasks, as well as an overview of potential ‘blocking tasks’, such as:
- a trauma call
- a food delivery
The solution includes an estimation of the delay a blocking task will have on the other tasks at hand.
During the pilot, it has become clear that the solution is of great value to the hospital staff, and it has proved to be an extremely useful tool to support the workflows at the hospital.
Looking ahead, the solution will be able to pull data from other solutions, such as Columna Flow Clinical Tasking as well as solutions from other vendors. The next step is to offer mobile access to the dashboard overview to relevant staff on move.