Columna Flow Task Management optimises service personnel procedures and service logistics at Aalborg University Hospital
IT support of service logistics makes it easier to coordinate and plan service tasks. The digital solution implemented at Aalborg University Hospital is a part of the Columna Flow suite and simplifies task management.
Aalborg University Hospital decided to run the pilot project because of issues such as a lack of proper overview of service personnel's whereabouts and status. Further, they experienced that many hours were spent on the telephone when tasks were handed over. By working closely in ongoing workshops, both staff and management were able to get involved in the development of the Columna Flow Task Management system. The aim was to develop a solution that matched user needs as efficiently as possible. The Columna Flow solution has been running as a pilot project in Aalborg University Hospital since February 2013 and the results are significant and measurable.
The former procedure was handled by a coordinator who received all incoming tasks for service personnel over the telephone. These were then transferred and verbally allocated to the service personnel.
Using existing infrastructure at the hospital, the Columna Flow Task Management system collects information about where service personnel are in the hospital. Service personnel use smartphone to see where their nearest colleagues and tasks are. This increases efficiency and patient waiting time is minimised as result of the Columna Flow solution.
"One of the changes is that secretaries and clinical staff, for example in the x-ray department, enter their programme for the day into the system in the morning. This means we have much greater scope for adjusting our procedure accordingly because tasks don't come in on an ad-hoc basis any longer," says Aalborg University Hospital Administrator, Lars Esko.
In April 2014 the local news station 24Nordjyske showed a feature on Columna Flow Task Management in Aalborg. The feature shows how the solutions benefits patients, orderlies, and hospital management.
A crucial reason for why Columna Flow Task Management has become so successful at Aalborg University Hospital is the constructive way its staff-locating function is used. There is not a competition to see who can carry out the most tasks. Management does not raise any criticisms about where service staff are in the hospital either. The result is an evolved learning culture where staff exchange and discuss ideas with each other and plan together. The staff have built up a much greater overall understanding – focus has moved from the individual level to the ward as a whole. Exchanging and discussing ideas and mutual planning makes it easier for the staff to understand the individual's role and clarifies how the individual member of staff can contribute as part of the wider team.
- reduction of phone calls
- fewer communicative errors
Deployment across the entire hospital is well underway. "While the system is still being deployed, we still have a coordinator function. But the number of calls to the coordinator has fallen by 40-50 %, and this will continue to fall in line with more wards using Columna Flow Task Management,” explains Lars Esko. He continues: "Obviously, ensuring that patients get the best possible treatment is utmost in the minds of all of the staff at the hospital. Columna Flow Task Management means we can do our jobs with reduced waiting times, better information and optimal service logistics."
Another benefit the system delivers is that clinical personnel experience far fewer interruptions during the day. Now they can place their tasks with service staff in the morning and concentrate on more important tasks. Simultaneously, the level of stress has been minimised because the staff experiences far fewer interruptions.
Columna Flow Task Management collects a range of data about peak load periods, types of task, etc. The system can use this information, for example to organise a shift plan, analyse waiting times, and improve service logistics.