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Agility at Swiss hospitals

Healthcare still has much catching up to do when it comes to transformation. Swiss hospitals are highly hierarchical and organized according to the specialist disciplines and are still too timid when it comes to further developing their organization. Having said that, one has to acknowledge that since the revision of the Swiss Health Insurance Act (KVG) in 2012, competition has been increasing steadily.

As a result, hospitals had to become quicker, more adaptable, more flexible, more dynamic and self-organizing – in short: more agile. But what exactly does this buzzword “agility” mean? And how can agile hospitals differentiate themselves from their competitors?

Swiss hospitals are facing new challenges:

Stagnating to falling inpatient cases

Costs constantly outstripping income

Increasing regulatory pressure (outpatient before inpatient)

New treatment possibilities due to medical progress

New patient needs

Apart from building up a new management culture and innovative business models at a strategic level, hospitals also have to consider two pivotal operational aspects:

Digital patient scheduling/communication

The idea behind digital patient scheduling/communication can be seen in the individual steps of the treatment trail, i.e. the patient will be supported digitally along his or her treatment from the initial scheduling up to aftercare. The technologies necessary for this already exist and are already being used successfully in numerous other industries, such as in the retail industry.

As a result, patients will feel like they are being seen as individuals and that their treatment is organized flexibly and better supported.

According to a KPMG study dating back to 2017, doing so could save the Swiss healthcare sector CHF 300 million a year – and that’s before considering the effects of the digital patient records.

Stringent cost management

Hospitals are characterized by complex tasks and wide-ranging responsibilities. Costs as well as competition are constantly increasing. With its many stakeholders (referring doctors, patients and cantons, to name just a few) the environment is highly complex.

As such, it is important to move every lever possible to improve costs at an integrated level and to keep up cost management (pro-)actively. Because maintaining the status quo will invariably lead to lower market share and less income.

Quote Michael Herzog

A stringent management concept and the courage to take risks – this is the basis for a successful transformation

The persons sharing their experiences in this magazine edition all possess the characteristics of disposing of determination and an iron will. All of them have a clear goal and a vision.

On the one hand, they enjoy novel ideas, but on the other hand, they also understand that action is required and that standing by is not an option. What is needed is “agility in the head, and courage in the heart”.

The following examples make this clear (both articles are in German):

The integrated daypatient healthcare center (IDHC)

The integrated daypatient healthcare center (IDHC) is a great example how service providers can undergo structural changes under very different circumstances and react in an agile manner to a constantly changing environment.

An IDHC is an alternative to a full-blown hospital, and closes the gap between expensive in-patient treatment and Spitex or nursing homes by providing care close to the home, thus reducing unnecessary stays in large-infrastructure clinics and homes, especially for elderly patients.

We think that in Switzerland there is a potential to convert about 20 of the existing 100 (or so) small-sized acute care municipal and regional hospitals into integrated daypatient healthcare centers. Across Switzerland, this set-up would bring about a savings potential of around CHF 300 to 400 million a year.

Walter Gratzer

Three recipes for success for integrated healthcare at a cantonal level

The Swiss healthcare market is on the move. Innovative concepts to ensure high quality and efficient healthcare also in the future are sprouting in many places. Various cantons are showing approaches that not only intend to lower costs but also improve agility.

KPMG visited representatives of the Cantons of Bern, Graubünden and Basel City/Baselland who spoke about their cutting-edge healthcare initiatives. The result is always the same: agility and the conviction to not only manage the future of healthcare services but to also actively design it.

Canton of Graubünden

Canton of Graubünden

“It is our aim to offer healthcare in all of the canton’s regions also in the future”, says Peter Peyer, Head of the Department of Justice, Security and Health without further ado. “It should be decentralized and structured into 12 different healthcare regions.”

Canton of Bern

Canton of Bern

“Regional, reliable, person-focused care that is financed in the long term through an optimal collaboration between all stakeholders offering physical or psychological well-being for our population and guests alike”, is how Pierre Alain Schnegg, Director of Healthcare and Welfare Matters of the Canton of Bern, sums it up.

Cantons of Basel-City/Baselland

Cantons of Basel-City/Baselland

Actively participating in creating regional healthcare services and mitigating costs in the hospital sector. Thomas Weber, executive member of the government of the Canton of Baselland, and Lukas Engelberger, executive member of the government of the Canton Basel-City, on their joint healthcare strategy for both cantons.

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