From planning principles to outpatients’ treatment processes

Short-term structural optimization

A hospital set out a number of planning principles that support its strategic ambition. At the same time, the Electronic Medical Record (EPD) was being implemented. This raised operational issues, such as how the new outpatients’ timetables were to be structured. Together, these two developments represented a useful opportunity to better structure future outpatients’ treatment processes in the new EPD system.

Much needed to be done in the short term – the hospital had to translate global planning principles into outpatient policies, and then apply these in turn to optimized annual and weekly timetables.

The hospital therefore asked Vintura to guide this process. Such a change was a major challenge: different parties have different interests (freedom versus efficiency), and there were many historic but non-explicit arrangements that had to be evaluated and modified.

The core team did the preparatory work

Together with a core team of Unit heads, we started a number of processes:

  • Translating the planning principles into concrete rules and starting points for outpatient planning.
  • Coordinating with the various departments, making clear the need for the change, and pointing out what the consequences of that change would be.
  • Designing a process for continually evaluating and optimizing the planning (the plan cycle).
  • Making the first timetables and learning about the matters we would encounter.
    Keeping a record for optimizing all outpatient departments.

A fresh start for the benefit of patients

In constructive and sometimes frank discussions, we took many joint decisions that would result in ‘harmony and rhythm’. That was efficient and reassuring. And it means that the people involved will be able to do much more work in the future. Optimized timetables ensure short processing times. They also allow longer-term planning and therefore greater clarity for patients. The planning is structured in such a way that patients will be able to plan their own schedules in due course. A new start in a new system that helps the hospital serve its patients even better than before.

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