Hospitals’ number-one goal is delivering high-quality and safe patient care. To achieve this initiative, hospitals must establish consistent processes, optimize staff capabilities and improve operational efficiency. By focusing on continuous process improvement, hospitals can ensure they are taking the right steps to meet the evolving needs of their patients and staff. Swisslog’s hospital automation systems incorporate many of the principles of lean, six sigma and other methodologies that have been shown to deliver significant improvements in inventory management, as well as nursing, lab, pharmacy and material handling workflow.
Many hospitals and pharmacies rely on manual processes to determine inventory and make purchasing decisions. As can be expected, visual inspections and handwritten notes can lead to costly overstock and buying emergencies – preventable problems that could negatively impact staff productivity and the patient experience. With an automated inventory management system, hospitals can manage and track medication, supplies and health information, replenishing only the items that are needed, when they are needed.
Critical and sometimes life-threatening decisions are made based on lab results. To ensure the fastest possible turnaround time, blood and specimens must reach the lab quickly and safely, and staff should be prepared to efficiently handle the workflow. Automation helps improve laboratory operational efficiency and reduce waiting time for important information.
Material Handling Workflow
Hospitals continually face a number of material transport challenges that can stand in the way of optimizing the overall patient experience. Often dealing with limited storage space, hospitals must rely on just-in-time inventory. But supply delivery delays, incorrect handling and facility damage are common. In addition, employee shortages, turnover and the need to do more with less add further pressures to material handling workflows. With an inefficient process, it not only takes longer but it also costs more to deliver the high-quality service patients deserve and expect.
Hospital and healthcare administrators continuously seek for ways to enhance the patient experience, while also driving operational efficiency and reducing costs. Because nurses are on the front lines of delivering patient-centered care, improving their workflow can provide substantial benefits to patients and the hospital.
Hospital pharmacies must distribute medications on time and with a high degree of quality assurance. Unfortunately, pharmacies typically have workflows that do not optimize staff capabilities and deliver value. By focusing on pharmacy workflow improvements, hospitals can ensure efficient flow of medication and information throughout not only the pharmacy, but also the organization as a whole – resulting in higher overall quality of service.