NHS Executives Recognise Cost and Efficiency Gains of Patient Flow Management
Qmatic survey “Patient Flow in the NHS” reveals widespread adoption of self check-in kiosks and digital media for patient satisfaction, privacy and reduction of cross-infection
Bedfordshire – 31 January 2012 – Two in five (40%) senior decision-makers in the NHS think that improving customer queuing and waiting will make their department a more efficient operation yet only 6% have it at the top of their priority list, according to a new survey by Qmatic.
In the report, called “Patient Flow in the NHS” which was conducted on behalf of the world leader and innovator in customer flow management (CFM), less than a third (30%) of respondents even have plans to improve patient queuing and waiting.
This is surprising given that so many of those surveyed named such important benefits from effective patient flow. In addition to greater patient satisfaction which was cited by almost three quarters (73%), a quarter (23%) pointed out the potential to reduce cross infection and around a third cited better patient privacy (27%) as well as reduced staff stress (33%).
David Anahory, UK CEO at Qmatic explained, “It’s not always easy to translate the benefits of effective patient management right through to tangible operational benefits. Yet, our experience of working with healthcare organisations such as Birmingham Childrens’, St Thomas’, Westlake and Royal Glamorgan Hospitals points to demonstrable cost and efficiency benefits all of which affect the bottom line and healthcare provision.”
“By valuing time within the physical patient experience and deriving real-time management information NHS trusts can power meaningful business decisions,” continued Anahory. “This leads to improved staff retention and allows them to do more with less through better resource planning and deployment of staff, skills and resources.”
Patient flow services can range from barriers, through to both independent and networked virtual and linear queue management systems, to mobile phone applications, kiosk systems and new media. According to the Qmatic survey, of the three in 10 NHS executives that already have improvement projects underway, more than half of them (56%) are working on implementing buffered queuing systems.
Self check-in projects are also growing, with a third (33%) of the NHS sample currently working on using interactive screens and digital media. A fifth (22%) are planning to place useful information in queuing or waiting areas, suggesting that NHS trusts have the potential to see kiosks and digital media as cost effective, multipurpose tools; getting patients to the correct person or department quickly and efficiently, whilst providing valuable and educational information.
Interestingly, a third (33%) are concerned about the cost of improvements to patient queuing and waiting, yet over a fifth (22%) also plan to increase the number of advisors on hand to manage it.
“Human interaction in a care environment is vital and better patient management systems can certainly alleviate burdening qualified staff with unnecessary administration,” Anahory concluded. In the NHS, educating visitors also has a potentially vital role to play in the prevention of healthcare issues. This not only has a positive impact on the wellbeing of the nation but also on the cost of healthcare provision.”
When asked about the challenges hindering positive change, most NHS executives cited practical issues. Almost half (47%) are concerned with the disruption to service during any implementation process, 40% about the space available to them and 37% worry about their ability to implement the technology itself.
Around a quarter (27%) claim that resistance to change and attitudes to new technology are an issue.
The Qmatic research was conducted by specialist IT market research consultancy, Vanson Bourne among 30 senior decision makers in the NHS.
To learn more about patient flow management or for a copy of Patient Flow in the NHS, call +44 (0) 1234 757110.
Qmatic is the world leader and innovator in Customer Flow Management (CFM) solutions that are designed to increase sales and productivity while reducing costs for organisations in the retail, retail finance, public healthcare and travel sectors. Its software, hardware and consultancy helps organisations such as Barclays, Homebase, St Thomas’ Hospital, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Royal Glamorgan Hospital to value time within the physical customer experience and derive real-time management information (MI) that powers meaningful business decisions. This MI can drive important considerations such as in-store/branch/location skills routing, store layout and design, employee training and job satisfaction, customer loyalty and retention, brand equity, opportunity sales, real-time feedback and problem resolution as well as efficiency and cost control. Qmatic’s services range from barriers through to both independent and networked virtual and linear queue management systems, to mobile phone applications, kiosk systems and new media.
Natalie Sutton/Danielle Cook
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