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Delivery and capacity planning at Waikato Hospital

A Waikato Hospital project looking at delivery and capacity planning within the hospital, has been deemed so effective, it has won an award at tonight’s Waikato District Health Board Best of Health Awards.

The Best of Health Awards were first introduced in 2003 to recognise and reward the excellent health initiatives that had taken place across the Waikato.

They were held again in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The aim of the awards is to share valuable health information and showcase best practice.

This year, the awards received 36 entries from throughout the Waikato health sector, including entries from primary care, Waikato District Health Board and non-Government organisations (NGOs).

Some 180 guests gathered at the Wintec House Atrium from 6pm today to attend the awards ceremony, MC’d by TV personality Kay Gregory.

The four category prizes up for grabs were:

  • Innovation – won by Population Health for their project: ‘Opportunities Taken: The need for, and effectiveness of secondary care opportunistic immunisation
  • Patient outcome – won by Sport Waikato for their entry: Project Energize
  • Process improvement –won by Waikato Hospital for their project: The Waikato Hospital delivery and capacity planning project; and
  • Collaboration – won by Midlands Health Network for their project: eReferral best practice generic template roll out to Waikato DHB general practices

A selection of DHB and primary care staff judged each of these, which came with prize money of $1500 each.

The overall prize was worth $3000 and claimed by overall winner Project Energize.

By far the biggest category, there were 14 entries in the process improvement category claimed by Waikato Hospital, which looks at recognising how planned improvement activities – both clinical and non-clinical – led to significant improvements in patient care or process improvement.

Process improvement activities aim to improve customer and staff satisfaction; and at reducing or eliminating process waste such as resources and time.

A brief description of the project

Waikato Hospital historically provided a set number of beds over the year with closures allocated primarily to known low elective periods, such as Christmas.

The associated nursing staff rosters were driven by budgeted matrix, which did not necessarily align with planned or acute demand.

There was minimal knowledge of seasonal demand, which regularly resulted in high elective surgical cancellations, large numbers of patients nursed outside of their specialty areas, high nursing costs associated with misaligned rosters with workload, and scheduled theatre sessions poorly utilised.

As a result of this project, there has been a focus on improved planning to place patients in the right place, in the right beds, at the right time. There has been an increase in surgical throughput and a decrease in cancelled surgeries.

This has therefore improved patient access to elective services and patients are spending less time waiting in ED for a ward bed.

Judges comments

“This project is using an off the shelf programme to the max; when it was obtained it was used DHB wide and implemented thoroughly. From the patient’s perspective, this has had a monstrous impact.

“It is amazing in a hospital the size of Waikato, to embed something this large so quickly and get staff confidence in its use.”

Other projects that received honourable mentions at the awards were:

  • Community pharmacy anticoagulation management service from Pharmacy 547
  • The Waihi Project (family violence) from Population Health, Waikato DHB
  • Waikato virtual lesion clinic from Waikato DHB’s Dermatology Department; and
  • from Waikato Immunisation Stakeholders Group

ENDS

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