Growth fuelled by quality

SHB student maps out organizational development at Esslingen Hospital

Since 2000, managers at Esslingen Hospital have been using the model of excellence provided by the EuropeanFoundation for Quality Management (EFQM). The model defines the characteristics of comprehensive andexcellent quality within an organization. The hospital achieved Level 1 of the model as early as 2003. In 2010,Esslingen Hospital aimed to achieve Level 2, to continue to position itself against the increasing competitivethreat posed by other service providers in the healthcare market. Dr. med. Oliver Mayer embraced this challengeas part of his MBA studies at the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship at Steinbeis UniversityBerlin (SHB).

For the hospital to move up to Level 2, the existing Business Process Management (BPM) system would need expanding. To do this, Esslingen Hospital developed “patient- oriented organizational structures” (POS®). The POS® principles are embedded as a central element of the EFQM model for business excellence. Due to political developments, overall conditions have changed since 2000, and hospitals have had to align their workflows to match the value chain process. Now, every patient is seen as a “case” and evaluated, with everything revolving around his or her individual value chain – from the moment patients are first admitted through to after-care.

Before embarking on the project, Esslingen Hospital conducted a detailed risk analysis to assess how likely it would be to succeed with its restructuring of the hospital organization in line with the POS® model, and the chances of successfully reaching EFQM Level 2 by doing so. The project – and with it, the 2008 self-evaluation cycle – started with training of internal auditors, and ended in 2009 with the presentation of the final report to senior management. During this stage of the project, a variety of workshops took place, focusing on ascertaining the degree of excellence at the hospital. The project drew to a close with a list of suggestions proposing six improvement projects. Hospital management used the proposals to select and implement three improvement projects:

(1) Establishing a pain concept for the entire hospital
(2) Introducing controlled, systematic project and process management
(3) A review of the patient bed changing service

As the overall project manager, Dr. med. Oliver Mayer was responsible for coordinating and supervising projects during their implementation, and ensuring that they were completed by the end of January 2010. Upon completion, Mayer handed the project over to the hospital’s quality officer.

This large-scale project has already been successful for the hospital, and many things speak for themselves: improvements in the hospital’s image, expansion of the Esslingen Hospital brand, and the approaches that senior managers can now take to solve problems identified during the project’s implementation. The day-to-day running of Esslingen Hospital was outstandingly profitable in 2008, due to the high use of capacity once the POS® implementation phase was underway.

Looking back now, the focus on quality, the level of medical specialization, and the consistent attention to local patterns of needs have become key to the hospital’s future market success. Given the increasing levels of competition between health care providers – shaped by factors such as top quality and customer satisfaction – will play a pivotal role.

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