It has never been more evident that efficiency is key for the healthcare sector, if it is to meet the growing demands of government targets; both for cost savings and for improvements to the patient experience.
Yet a major challenge for all kinds of healthcare organisations is that resources are either strained or under-utilised, with appointments delayed or cancelled, because resources or equipment are not available.
To maximise the efficiency of health service resources, it is necessary to ensure they are better utilised and available to more services through enterprise-wide scheduling. This is achieved by making resource schedules accessible to all relevant events in a patient’s pathway.
Scheduling is the key
We achieve this by giving all health service resources an individual schedule, which is then managed by the nominated schedule owners. Booking an activity automatically selects all required resources.
The system holds key information for the activity including rules - when, what, where, how, in what order and who can book it – and then allocates the appropriate amount of time in all associated schedules across the enterprise.
This results in a much more efficient and accurate centralised booking team, able to book more complex activities involving multiple patient events in an intuitive, user friendly interface.”
For example, users will book every activity required to complete the treatment pathway, without needing to refer to guides or having expert knowledge.
This could be a simple appointment, consisting of a consultant and a room, or a more complex booking involving transport to the hospital, all required pre-op tests, pre-op consultancy, anaesthesia, operating room, staff, equipment, consumables, recovery and transport home.
Time slots become a thing of the past as bookings are transformed into resource schedules for the duration of that activity. Staff can even set how long a particular activity takes, ensuring their time is used effectively and efficiently.
Ease of access to services for both referrers and patients is another area in which revenue can be increased, operating costs reduced, and greater patient satisfaction achieved.
Referrers can directly book healthcare services and patients can manage their own appointments via the healthcare providers’ own website, providing they have access through a portal. Of course, the same booking rules apply, ensuring efficient and accurate access to resources via the healthcare providers’ own website.
No decision about me without me
Scheduling can go further than this. Letting patients manage their own appointments at home is a big step to improving the patient experience.
A good example is a patient on a treatment plan such as chemotherapy or dialysis. Instead of calling a booking office to rearrange multiple appointments, they simply log-on to a patient portal to view and manage their own appointments within the rules defined for their particular treatment.
And patients can book appointments directly with their GP, without the rigmarole of busy practice switchboards; an indirect benefit is that patients who cannot access or do not want to use the portal will find getting through to a receptionist much easier as demand on reception is reduced."
One way the healthcare sector can become more efficient and provide a better service for patients is through greater accessibility to resources for everyone, enterprise wide. Multi-resource, enterprise wide scheduling is the future.
Our enterprise scheduling solutions deliver proven booking and referral capabilities to trusts. Designed specifically for the healthcare sector, UltraGenda streamlines existing scheduling processes, reducing inefficiency and improving patient care.
Configurable and very easy to use, UltraGenda can be implemented incrementally, with minimum disruption, enhancing existing systems without needing to ‘rip and replace’ them. UltraGenda consists of four key elements:
UltraGenda Pro: a web-native, rules-based enterprise-wide scheduling solution that is fully Choose and Book compliant, can integrate with multiple healthcare systems and supports primary and secondary resource planning.
UG Broka: online referral and booking platform, consisting of two portal applications – one for clinicians to refer patients electronically, and one enabling patients to book their own appointments.
UG Track Pro: rescheduling and follow-up functionality for examinations and procedures scheduled in UltraGenda Pro.
UG Contacts Store: manages information relating to appointment scheduling/follow-up by collecting data that can be analysed and shared via CSC or third party business intelligence solutions.
The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust experience
The trust introduced UltraGenda to streamline its booking systems and harmonise processes across its different hospitals.
eHealth Insider: The Heart of England approach to enterprise scheduling
eHealth Insider: Beyond appointment and resource scheduling
Back to Industry Focus