An American company, credited with masterminding radical improvements at hospitals in the United States and Canada, has begun working with NHS Forth Valley to lessen the peaks and troughs in patient demand which can leave hospitals quieter at some periods and struggling to cope at others.
Representatives from the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Optimization are pictured at Forth Valley Royal Hospital where they met senior staff and clinicians at the start of a programme designed to remove delays as patients move through hospitals. The team were here for a week and held a number of teaching sessions involving around 80 to 90 staff.
Key priorities include improving access and patient experience in the Emergency Department and Acute assessment Unit, easing pressure in medical and surgical wards and increasing scheduled surgery, particularly in orthopaedics.
The scheme will also look at ways to avoid cancelling operations unless there are exceptional circumstances and how to cut down on the need for return visits.
NHS Forth Valley is the first Health Board in Scotland to engage in this type of process. The next few months will be an assessment phase where we will gather and review a wide range of scheduled and unscheduled activity. This will then be analysed to identify areas and opportunities for improvement.
Infection Control Manager Jonathan Horwood has been seconded as Programme Manager and will work alongside Dr Chris Cairns, Consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care to take forward the work.
Redesign work carried out by IHO in the USA has resulted in surgery waiting times at a hospital in Cincinnati falling by more than 25% on weekdays and one third at weekends, despite a rise in cases. Successes have also been recorded at hospitals in Florida, Boston, South Carolina, Maryland and Ontario in Canada.