Logistics in Healthcare
Improving efficiency in healthcare is topical as healthcare providers are under mounting pressure to better manage their operations and reduce costs, while continuing to meet the healthcare needs of ever-growing populations. Healthcare providers are increasingly turning to better hospital design to treat the problem.
Through the application of more efficient processes, we can ensure that critical supplies are readily available, operating theatres are well stocked, patients are transported quickly between rooms, and facilities are safeguarded against infection and intruders. These are just a few of the benefits of designing Logistics into the layout of a hospital.
Improving resource effectiveness
We are currently providing Logistics consultancy for a number of projects in Sweden and the USA including Queen Silvia’s Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden and South General Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. The most effective way of incorporating Logistics is at the design phase. As logistics consultants, our role involves mapping out current hospital flows and layouts, highlighting the bottlenecks and recommending solutions that eliminate inefficacies. Our designs can free up as much as 40% of nurses’ ‘stocking and walking’ time, which can be reallocated to patient care and make up for the lack of qualified resources. Solutions such as giving staff access to medical stock rooms from operating rooms and hallways can significantly improve efficacy.
Safeguarding a clean hospital environment
Hygiene is a vital factor to integrate into all hospital designs. Our role involves ensuring that different flows work in accordance with each other, such as ensuring patient and waste routes do not overlap and providing quick access to medical equipment while maintaining a secure environment.
The importance of traceability is growing; the possibility to track the forward movement of instruments or medicines at a certain point in time throughout the chain or retrospectively trace their location can considerably minimize errors, improve stock efficiency and fulfil safety requirements. The use of data management tools such as GS1 have enabled faster, more accurate and efficient product data management, improving patient safety and reducing the risk of errors.
Research from Montreal’s McGill University Hospital has shown that single room layouts can significantly improve healing and increase wellbeing, thereby shortening hospital stays. An effective way-finding system, both indoors and outdoors, provides direction and confidence for people in a potentially heightened state of anxiety, contributing to overall wellbeing for patients, staff and visitors.
Looking into the future is crucial for clients in order to keep buildings sufficiently flexible to cope with future expansion. Our Logistics teams evaluate the various possibilities of different room locations in order to accommodate future changes in layouts. This can affect structures such as movable façades, wall materials and load bearing floors and ceilings.
A driving force behind many changes in healthcare patterns can be put down to advances in technology. New technology is being rapidly adopted in healthcare, which is leading to changes in the way facilities are designed and built. ‘Robots’ or automated guided vehicles (AGV) and pneumatic tube transport are just a few examples of systems that are changing designs.
There are many instances that show that hospital Logistics have a measurable impact on clinical outcomes and cost. The resulting designs support clinicians in fulfilling their role and ensure a more positive experience for patients and visitors in difficult times.