success: Health Care


Hospitals are the example of Mintzberg's professional bureaucracy: both management and employees are highly educated and equipped to structure work processes. Because this makes hospital organizations less controllable, work processes are far less efficient than at companies. Most regular companies are happy to be able to raise efficiency by a few percent points, whereas it's quite common for hospitals to increase efficiency by 20%.

Working with the European hospital benchmark taught us that small changes can have a large impact on costs and revenues. The challenge for hospital management is not only to find these opportunities but also to implement them while acknowledging the special nature of their hospital organization. As hospitals are professional bureaucracies, improvements tend to fail when the interaction between medical and non-medical staff is not addressed.

For example, we analyzed an outpatient ward with a comparatively high use of abdominal care resources. In the past, the administrative staff had shouldered the reorganizational burdens without any effect on costs. It was discovered that interacting with the medical staff on the actual work floor enabled us to procure some cost-effective measures without sacrificing medical care.

By discussing work processes per diagnosis in comparison with those of peers, we found that a minor change in the medical protocol - omitting one extra visit – actually enabled the ward to lower costs by 25%. Additionally, patient and physician satisfaction was increased. This example showed the importance of truly understanding the medical cultural language and, more importantly, the non-hierarchic communication structures between medical and non-medical staff.

Although medical healthcare systems differ largely throughout the world, the actual work protocols are surprisingly similar. This is because most doctors base their practices on the same Anglo-Saxon medical evidence. The answer to ‘what’ and ‘how’ things should be done is already present in the minds of medical professionals. However, implementation of this knowledge is complicated as the medical culture is difficult for non-medicals to understand.

Hospital managers tend to try to solve this by hiring more staff, both medical and non medical, thereby actually increasing the managerial challenge. It's clear that the real solution lies in improving communication between employees on all levels (not only with management), and in finding their solutions to implement best practices. If we allow ourselves to really understand this notion, we see a tremendous opportunity to lower cost while increasing quality.

Case Study

Productivity improvement and cost reduction project for a Hospital with 2,200 full time employees with a wall to wall scope.

  • Taurus Concepts is active in these sectors:
    • Manufacturing
    • Health care
    • Financial services
    • Retail
    • Food & beverage
    • Mining
  • Obstacles to improvements are:
    • Labor pool issues (poor quality of employees, staff shortage or surplus)
    • Low morale
    • High staff turnover
    • Ineffective internal communication
    • Complex legislation and regulation
  • Misalignment of staff performance and bonus metrics with corporate goals/objectives results in unfair compensation and lower productivity.
  • Senior management's inability to implement change results in lower productivity.
  • Managers, on average, spend only 11% of their time increasing productivity through active leadership.
  • Managers are buried under reports they don't use to manage.

    Only 60% of the reports are used to manage.
  • On average, managers spend 35% of their time on paper work.

    For these tasks, 25% of a manager's time is preferred.
  • Most managers believe they can increase productivity 13.8%.

    However, the actual average increase tends to be 9.8%.
  • The biggest challenge a company can face is that of a culture change.
  • On average, 70% of companies is willing to improve productivity.
  • These 4 factors are pivotal in achieving organization-wide improvements in processes and controls:
    • Management
    • Workforce
    • Communications
    • Training
  • Cost reductions can be seized through:
    • Business process streamlining
    • Effective management control systems
    • Extensive training
  • The Taurus Concepts approach results in:
    • Increased productivity
    • Proactive staff behavior
    • Strong competitive positioning
    • Involvement of company's employees
  • Supervisory competence is a key factor in improving productivity.
  • On average, managers receive only 6 days of training per year.
  • These 3 factors need to be in place to achieve organizational effectiveness & quality, and minimize waste:
    • Effective supervision
    • Workforce comprehension and support of processes
    • Transparent communication
  • During the past few years, workforce productivity has dropped to an average of 2 productive/3 unproductive days per week.

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