2012 Conference Presentation
Objective: The public health care and social services sector in Finland is facing increased pressure to maintain or even improve the service level while decreasing operating costs. Effective supply chain management processes and supporting IT systems have a major impact on both the service level and the operating costs, and thus the focus must be put on these areas in public health and social care organizations. This paper presents how a new supply chain process and solution was implemented for elderly care in the South Karelia Social and Health Care district (Eksote). Eksote is a forerunner in health and social care services development in Finland as it combines primary, secondary health care and social care in a totally new way covering 8 municipalities (urban and rural areas) that were earlier working independently.
Data and methods: The paper describes how a new solution for the long term patient placement process was created in Eksote. The objective of the long term patient placement process is to place elderly persons to suitable wards or retirement homes. The development of the solution is described by covering three perspectives: (1) process, (2) organization and (3) ITsolution. The overall development approach was based on an agile Business Process Management (BPM) approach where end user involvement is essential in order to capture the true needs and requirements of the users. In addition, the paper describes the empirical experiences about the actual usage of the solution in daily operations. On an annual level, hundreds of patients are placed by using the developed solution which has proved to improve both the efficiency and the effectiveness of the supply chain operations significantly. The paper contributes to both academic research and to practitioner perspective by presenting a unique, proven approach to solving a challenge that most public health and social care services organizations are facing.
Results and policy implications: The integrated organisation develop social and health care services for a larger area as a single entity. One of the most essential functional objectives is to reduce the use of institutional care radically. The whole care process of the client has to be seen as one continuum which begins from home and continues fluently back home again. This requires seamless cooperation in the network of actors. There are various regional home care, health centers with bed wards and residential homes across the region and one central hospital. AFQ office is responsible for both short-term and long-term placements. The office consists of multiple specialized discharge and placement nurses and social workers who focus solely on patient placement. These AQP nurses assess the patients' needs and made the placement decisions instead of doctors and nurses in the wards. Different professionals have clear responsibilities and therefore the use of the professionals' time is more productive and unnecessary communication is reduced. The queues were shorten and the older person's needs is able to taken into account better as the older person is getting treatment and rehabilitation needed as quickly as possible. AFQ office used Eksote's common Electronic Patient Health Record and the Electronic Social service Client system (CRM). AQP- IT, patient records and CRM can be accessed from all work stations which saves working time. Common geriatric evaluation are being used in hole area. All employees were trained to use the new programs. There were trainers both from Eksote and from partnering technology company.