Driving performance improvement for ultrasound services

Rijnstate has two hospitals and two outpatient clinics in the eastern part of The Netherlands. Their Ultrasound Services team was experiencing challenges in meeting their targeted capacity. This created waiting lists for outpatients and put pressure on their one-day inpatient service. They were also seeing an increase in the number of other parties performing initial ultrasounds which influenced their work.

 

Philips consulting experts helped the group develop a successful ultrasound strategy for its four locations, based on their clinical, technical, and business experience in the field. They performed extensive internal and external performance assessments, provided change recommendations, and worked with a Rijnstate project team to co-create a new strategy.

 

The ultrasound services strategy aims to increase available ultrasound capacity, improve exam consistency through ongoing professional development, and ultimately improve their market share. Rijnstate has already increased production in outpatient clinics by 30%.

 

With the implementation of the ‘quick win’ improvements we managed to redistribute patient load to our outpatient centres. This benefits our patients as they can be scanned closer to home and at the same time our hospital can focus on inpatient- and emergency care.”

Ronald Niekel

Radiologist, Rijnstate Hospital

Our Approach


The Philips consultants took a holistic approach to the ultrasound services including:

  • a workflow assessment to understand capacity and scheduling challenges and identify variations between locations
  • an elaborate market analysis and a survey of patients provided input for a long-term strategy
  • co-creation sessions with the Rijnstate team to review initial recommendations and prioritise actions
  • the evaluation of several scenarios using predictive financial and operational dashboards
  • a proposal of a 3-way strategy to increase ultrasound capacity, grow market share, and support ongoing professional staff development (see full case study for more details).
  • some “quick win” improvements were implemented while the consultants were on site to streamline processes and reduce waiting times.

 Scenario Dashboard

Comparing optimisation scenarios by their capacity increase and financial impact. Visuals take into account the different locations indicated by A, B, C, and D,

 and the number of ultrasound rooms per location. In total around six scenarios were created with varying working hours, staffing scenarios etc.

 Scenario Dashboard

Insight into patient preferences

As part of the market analysis, a survey of about 300 patients provided valuable insight into their preferences. An initial hypothesis was that hospital locations are preferred over outpatient clinics.

 

The results of the survey, however, showed that patients preferred to have ultrasound services closer to home over the type of institute.

Results
 

Several “quick win” improvements have already helped streamline processes and reduce waiting times for Rijnstate Ultrasound Services. While the overall growth in Ultrasound procedures remained at roughly 5-10%, the production in the outpatient clinics increased by over 30%, effectively redistributing the patient load.

 

Specific changes included:

  • Aligning protocols for transferring clinical information between the ultrasound technician and radiologist 
  • Adapting time slots to fit the actual duration of exams 
  • Changing the way of working for emergency cases. Planning is now performed by administration and funnelled to two rooms

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*Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.