NTNU Health

Improved patient flow and resource utilisation at St. Olavs hospital

The shift to more outpatient treatment, along with more complex diagnostics and treatment options, has made timely access to hospital resources more important. Moreover, the increasing demand for specialised healthcare requires better coordination and new solutions for operational planning and exchange of information to meet the even shorter access time targets.

In order to simplify and be able to better manage the vast complexity of the entire set of activities required by all patients, so-called care pathways (standardiserte pasientforløp) have been developed for groups of patients sharing similar symptoms or diagnoses. Essentially, a care pathway prescribes which activities should be performed, in which sequence, and by whom. In this way, the required processes, resources and information flows are identified. The Central Norway Regional Health Authority is introducing a new system for electronic health records (EHR) that aims to facilitate the exchange of information and the coordination of the activities in a care pathway across the entire health service chain. This activity is being performed by Helseplattformen programme, an established project group responsible for the procurement, implementation and benefits realization of the new EHR solution.

The research is primarily divided into two projects, involving both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The first project will follow and analyse the procurement and implementation of the EHR solution (Helseplattformen), and study the opportunities of the EHR solution for improved patient flow in care pathways both within and between health organizations. The second project will develop mathematical models and tools that can be used for decision support when coordinating the activities and allocating the resources involved in a care pathway.