Using your team's full capacity

Note · 2022-11-23

With a shortage of skills and a large recruitment need, capacity management in both the healthcare sector and industry has become increasingly crucial. In a unique project, the two widely different sectors meet to exchange experiences and learn from one another.

Imagine a day in the emergency room – where it can be urgent to deal with many patients at the same time, independent departments such as radiology, labs and emergency teams must work closely together to save lives. Or produce survival and quality of life if we translate it into industrial language.

genrebild av sjukhuskorridorIf the healthcare sector is compared with industry, there is of course a lot that is different – mainly the fact that it is about people’s lives. Furthermore, other types of decision-making processes occur in a politically controlled organisation and to this we can add the ethical stress of prioritising between patients with a large variety of conditions and subsequent needs. A patient with cardiovascular disease in combination with cancer needs to be treated by more specialists than a patient who suffers solely from cardiovascular disease. Product customisations if we had to translate it into industrial language.

“In industry, there are clear requirements regarding subcontractors and if a certain component is not of the right quality, it is simply removed from the synchronised pace or flow. This is not how it works in the healthcare sector, where we must deal with all types of patients, meet and treat them at an adapted level - regardless if the pace stops,” explains Mattias Derneborg, Innovation Coordinator at Region Västmanland.

The same skills are required – regardless of conditions

From the left: Mattias Derneborg, Patrik Hidefjäll, Anders Vernersson and Henrik Drott from Region Västmanland during the second workshop.

And of course, this is where it differs. However, if we look at similarities instead, we can discover just as many.  Skills shortages and huge recruitment needs, coordination between departments, logistics, the right information at the right time and a strong determination to streamline and improve one's own organisation. Different prerequisites but with an opportunity to be inspired and learn lessons to reach a solution.

“We don't talk about the concept of paced flow in the healthcare sector in this way. I would like to delve into what it actually implies for the healthcare sector. We need to understand how the processes affect different organisations and how we can find a better paced flow for the benefit of patients,” says Henrik Drott, Deputy Area Manager Radiology at Region Västmanland.

The planned or paced flow is used in industry by synchronising steps to reduce the waiting time between different production stages and shorten lead times accordingly. In this type of system, deviations stand out as they slow down the entire flow – and it thus becomes easier to identify and fix the basic problems. A similar system could be applied to the healthcare sector to ensure the right information is available at the right time – which could increase capacity while at the same time providing patients with a better experience.

Elin Asplund, Programme and Project Manager at Automation Region.

“The paced flow is definitely an interesting area from several standpoints, both in industry and healthcare but certainly in other sectors and areas also,” says Elin Asplund, Programme and Project Manager at Automation Region. “It is one of many areas that we identified during the workshop sessions and something we will definitely look at in more depth,” she concludes.

The message is simple:  Sweden is a knowledge nation. Let's continue to be this by sharing knowledge and expertise across sectoral boundaries.

Region Västmanland, Region Sörmland, Volvo CE, ABB and Alstom are all involved in the project. Would you like to know more?  Please contact Elin Glimberg.