Most countries in Europe are facing a serious crisis of efficiency in their health services. According to World Bank estimates, European public spending on health could rise from 8% of GDP (in 2000) to 14% of GDP (in 2030). This trend could become even more significant as the main sources of this expenditure increase: the longevity of the population and the growing incidents of chronic diseases (responsible for 60% of world mortality).
At the same time, there is a growing demand from users for health services focused on the offer of preventive and personalised care and a concern for coordination and integration between the various health systems.
To illustrate these inefficiencies, we can use the example of the flow of a patient going to the hospital or health centre for a consultation. The COVID-19 pandemic forced tighter control of waiting room capacity, which often forces the patient to wait in queues outside the building. Inside the premises, flows are not clearly indicated and isolated. At the time of the consultation, most of the doctor's time is spent using the computer systems to report and search for information. At the time of performing some procedure, often not all the necessary material is available or is inaccessible. When the patient leaves the consultation, they need to come back again to schedule other exams.
These examples highlight the problems experienced by the patient and in controlling costs and efficiency. On the one hand, the patient goes to the hospital more than necessary (which increases the risk for the patient), on the other hand, the time of the medical and nursing teams is spent on non-value-added activities.
As can easily be seen, the current system is not sustainable. There is a need to develop a more agile and integrated system that truly puts the patient first. There is a need to change healthcare delivery for the better so that it is more efficient, more effective and more accessible. The main rationale for this change is to deliver VALUE in healthcare, i.e., to deliver the most relevant outcomes for the user, at the lowest cost and as quickly as possible.
To make these changes possible, it is necessary to implement a management model focused on the daily analysis and follow-up of KPIs, on the use of technology, and on the elimination of unnecessary costs.
Regarding the flow of the consultation, implementing this new paradigm means that the patient, minutes before the scheduled time, and according to the delays in previous appointments and the occupation of the waiting room, receives a text message informing him/her that he/she can go into the building and, without waiting or queuing, enters the facility and checks in. Within the area dedicated to consultations, there is complete isolation of entry and exit flows using visual management, so that all users know where they should go. At check-in, because there is daily tracking of KPIs and the entire department participates in daily meetings to share best practices and improvements, instead of being received as just another process number, each patient has a name and is treated in a personalised way. During the consultation, all the records are made using voice recognition software that allows transcribing everything the doctor says into the systems.
At Kaizen Institute we believe in this change of paradigm. We believe in productive and efficient healthcare units, focused on the experience of their users and their satisfaction.
This is how, by improving every day in all areas, we believe it is possible to make healthcare more accessible, faster and more efficient.