Design thinking for a better patient experience
In hospital planning, functionality has traditionally taken priority. Of course, the classic key performance indicators for treatment quality and economic viability are essential. Yet how people feel in a hospital should not be ignored; ultimately, they are physically and psychologically vulnerable. In addition, there is competition between hospitals - on the one hand for patients and on the other for staff. A hospital facility that takes the needs of these stakeholders into consideration therefore has a significant competitive advantage.
For us, this involves thinking from the perspective of the people who work or are treated in a hospital. To this end, we interview, observe and accompany patients, staff and family to find out how different environments affect their wellbeing. We then combine these perspectives with key data and process analyses in an experience flow map, which visually summarize improvement opportunities.
Conventional hospital consulting as a starting point
Data analytics is often the first step in our consulting projects. Through analyzing quality reports, clinical and administrative information systems plus device data, we can identify which patients are treated in which clinical setting. This also provides valuable information on process times, utilization and the frequency of each procedure. As a second step, our consultants assess on site the actual processes behind the data, and gain thorough insights by speaking to relevant stakeholders.
In conventional hospital consulting the focus is on quality, profitability and efficiency. This is often achieved by standardizing medical equipment, process optimization or efficiently managing interfaces. We always add an important element to these key performance indicators, which are the perspectives of those most deeply involved in the care process.
Patient-centered design in proton therapy
The strength of design thinking is well illustrated by a project we carried out for IBA (Ion Beam Applications SA), the technology leader in proton therapy. Working together with the global Philips Design team, IBA redesigned the spaces used for this type of radiation therapy. Various perspectives were gathered—from patients, relatives, radiologists, nurses, psychologists and social workers—to gain a better understanding of what proton radiation in a high-tech room means for those involved. Based on this, a concept was developed to improve the patient experience as well as to enhance processes for staff.
This approach can be applied to many areas of care: MRI and CT exam rooms, operating rooms, cath labs and even outpatient waiting areas. Light, video and sound are used to create a relaxing environment in these spaces, which can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of patients and support processes carried out by staff. Clinical requirements, factors affecting productivity and the needs of both patients and personnel are taken into account in the design. We call this approach Ambient Experience.
Solving challenges in care delivery with CoCreate
Two groups often form during consulting projects; one is engaged and supports a concept, while the other tends to resist. It is therefore important for all stakeholders to have the same level of knowledge and to develop a common understanding of the current situation. Only then is it possible to define a future state concept that everyone can agree upon and that – in a joint, iterative process – can be further developed and refined.
We pursue this objective through our CoCreate workshops, which bring all relevant stakeholders together to solve complex client problems and identify opportunities. To take into account as many different perspectives as possible, we involve clinical, business and digital Philips experts from around the world. With such participants and an inclusive approach, a great deal can be achieved in only two days.
Working together to achieve success
To ensure long-term partnerships and sustainable customer relationships, it is important to deliver on promises. In HTS consulting projects we define the key performance indicators together with the client, and are then evaluated on them. For example, in radiology, this may be higher throughput with at least the same outcome quality. Clinical parameters, such as unplanned returns to the intensive care unit, are also of interest. Economic key performance indicators such as average Length of Stay (LOS) or reimbursements can be applied too.
The prerequisite for this is that recommended changes are followed up on. In long-term strategic partnerships, we therefore have our own consultants on-site, and participate in opportunities and risks through outcome-based payment mechanisms. We combine this new way of collaborating with expertise from our long-established technology business, digital solutions and new areas such as population health management. This enables us to offer hospitals a very attractive, future-proof package.