Operations coordination assessment at CHR Liège

Assessment of operations coordination as a step towards implementation of coordination centre at Citadelle – Public Hospital of Liège

A Coordination Centre also referred to as a Command Centre, is a proven solution to take the day-to-day management of operations of complex organisations to the next level. The concept consists of a dedicated facility where different stakeholders that play a role in the day-to-day operations of the organisation are co-located. Through better information sharing and a better understanding of each other’s ways of working, it offers a great basis for efficient and timely management of operations to the benefit of the end client. This concept is transformational to a company’s culture since it pushes individuals to work together with other agents of the value chain in providing services to the client.

The link between airports and hospitals

Brussels Airport launched its first version of the Airport Operations Coordination Centre (APOC) in 2015. Since then, the APOC has evolved into a facility which not only manages the day-to-day operations but also forecasts demand and allocates resources in a proactive manner through cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence solutions. The airport operator and its main stakeholders (handlers and airlines) share information in a highly collaborative way.

Airport Intelligence’s mission is to export this expertise to complex organisations such as logistic centres, venues and hospitals.

Hospitals and airports share several challenges:

  • Both are exposed to the stress and potential mistakes of the staff in charge of the operations as pressure is high and a lot of factors still influence planning in real-time due to unexpected/unpredictable changes;
  • Investments in infrastructure are expensive, meaning they have a strong focus on getting the most out of the capacity they already have, while pressure on cost reductions and the need to increase efficiency is high;
  • Both moved from capacity management towards flow management (of patients/passengers);
  • Both hospitals and airports are part of an extensive network, where an event in one node or link has a direct impact on the rest of the network. The daily operations of hospitals and airports involve a large number of stakeholders.
  • Both facilities compile and manage huge amounts of data. When properly managed and used this can provide valuable insights for the enhancement of the predictability and the management of the day-to-day operations.

Analysis of the status-quo through our maturity assessment tool

In 2019, the Citadelle Hospital launched a project to optimise the utilisation of beds in their hospital. The aim was to assess the possibility of setting up a Stays Coordination Centre (a CCS as per its French name - Centre de Coordination des Séjours). The purpose of the CCS is to enable a more efficient process and a smooth journey for the patient while efficiently planning resources, and managing real-time changes in admissions and room capacity. Within this context, the Citadelle Hospital appointed Airport Intelligence to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the current maturity of the organisation to move to such a coordinated way of managing operations and give recommendations on the scope and set-up of a first version of the CCS.

We assessed the organisation and the definition of the CCS on 5 different levels: concept, processes, people and culture, technology, and performance. Our assessment evaluated 19 components of operations management based on which a set of recommendations was made, from quick wins to structural changes.

The necessary input for our assessment was gathered through on-site visits. To map the current methods of work and processes of the patients’ journey, a series of interviews with the leadership team of the hospital and the staff of the future CCS. The learnings were complemented with a benchmark analysis that provided fundamental insights and which supported the conclusions of our study.

“The Citadelle Hospital of Liège is always seeking ways to enhance the patient experience. The performance of our management operations is a necessary piece towards such objective.

Airport Intelligence’s assessment provided us with a clear picture of the current status of the bed management and the integration of our operations. It has also clarified the actions to be undertaken to enhance the patient experience.”

Client Feedback, Citadelle Hospital of Liège

Roadmap to the next level of operations coordination

As a result of our analysis, several recommendations were formulated. These will govern the next steps in the deployment process of the CCS. The recommendations included among others:

  • Implementation of a set of quick wins to achieve the first step of the deployment process;
  • Formulation of the concept of the future CCS: scope, objectives, strategy, planning, data management, team, KPIs, …;
  • Redefinition of the patient journey from the patient’s perspective;
  • Alignment of expectations of the hospital management with the future CCS staff needs;
  • Ensuring full coordination with other projects, in particular, those ICT-related;
  • Reinforcement of project governance;
  • Development of a communication plan;
  • Implementation of a “single version of the truth”.

These recommendations were integrated into a roadmap with specific tasks, responsibilities, and a timeline on the following levels:

  • Definition of the concept of operations (ConOps);
  • The required change of the processes involved in the patient’s journey;
  • The needs in terms of infrastructure & IT.

This roadmap was presented to the management team of the hospital, who gave its endorsement and decided to move forward in the implementation of a first version of the CCS that will put the focus on bringing people together, adapting ways of working and roles & responsibilities, as well as set the basis for the following evolution of the concept towards enhancement of the performance management and implementation of adapted tools.

“The Quick Scan carried out by Airport Intelligence has provided an accurate overview of the existing levels of bed management as well as the operations integration. It has also resulted in the drafting of a realistic roadmap, aligned with our needs and objectives.”

Client Feedback, Citadelle Hospital of Liège

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