Strategy needed for operational excellence in healthcare, industry experts say |
Saudi Gazette - 20 June, 2012
The application of Health Technology (HT), Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Accreditation Systems (AS) and constant patient satisfaction measures is essential for the success of any business strategy in the healthcare sector.
This was what medical industry experts affirmed Tuesday during the closing session of the two-day Medexpo Forum 2012. The event was organized by Dmg :: Events and MICE Arabia in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Senior professionals met to discuss internal management strategies for the development of a patient-centered, timely, equitable, safe, efficient and effective healthcare system in light of the challenges that hospitals are facing today, from increasing expenditure and healthcare demand to the lack of resources and the need to reduce human errors.
Scott Terry, consulting manager of Healthcare Performance Solutions, reminded the audience of the ideal conditions that the country was experiencing for finally implementing a healthcare system based on operational excellence.
“GCC healthcare expenditure is expected to grow threefold from $ 47 billion to $ 55 billion in the next 10 years. Saudi Arabia’s government significantly contributes to shape these figures with its massive investment in infrastructures,” he said.
According to Terry and several other experts, the journey to operational excellence starts from the capacity to evaluate basic problems, choose the medical and ICT technology that the organization really needs and comply with accredited policies and procedures.
“Every hospital has different problems and indiscriminately following a new trend can be counterproductive. It’s useless for instance to invest in application sets without having a functioning data network. Your application will be designed to fail,” explained Mustafa Qurban, assistant director of ITC at military hospitals in the Eastern Province.
Qurban focused his intervention on the importance of positioning ICT (covering RFID, archiving, wireless technology and hospital info system) as the best solution to persistent problems.
“We invested in connections between KFMMC hospitals and clinics using limited cloud computing and this helped us to save money and gain in efficiency, productivity and patient care.”
The services that can be integrated through cloud computing are E-services ( e-mails, SMS, Web portal), Picture Achieving and Communication System (PACS), Hospital and Clinical Information System (HIS), tele-medicine and tele-health,” he explained.
The impact of Health Technology on the efficiency of the healthcare system is considered equally determinant by the speakers who highlighted the benefits of long-term investment in advanced devices, equipment, systems, software, supplies, pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, medical and surgical procedures, organizational structures for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Today, client satisfaction is considered fundamental to gain and maintain the market share. “The patient values access, convenience, communication, personal caring and facilities when choosing a hospital or clinic. Client’s satisfaction and loyalty will help you build a reputation,” said Khaled Faris, CEO of Aldar Hospital.
According to the speakers, another essential step that health organizations need to take to facilitate and optimize healthcare delivery is to comply with the national accreditation system (CBAHI) or the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation system.
“There are studies that prove this virtuous relation. Saudi Arabia has 37 organizations accredited by the JCI that were able to develop a culture of quality and safety to which everyone contributes being responsible and accountable,” explained Ashraf Ismail, JCI’s managing director for the Middle East.
“Saudi Arabia developed its national system of accreditation in 2001 after a strong media campaign denouncing medical errors. The system was launched in the Makkah region by the Health Council.
The system required at that time to comply with few essential standards but gradually became an important and complex tool at a national level for quality implementation,” explained Majdah Shugdar, director of the hospital accreditation department at CBAHI.