Very early on, we observed that the healthcare system is organized in a siloed manner. Even within hospitals, departments are oftentimes organized as single cost centers (in Dutch: RVEs) with their own management and planning and control. Optimizing single departments leads to strongly fluctuating workloads in up- and downstream departments, and thus to waiting time and stressed staff.
This led us to start a large research project called LogiDOC (2007-2012) encompassing 6 PhD projects, and which was funded by STW (Nikky Kortbeek, Peter Hulshof, Theresia van Essen), UT (Peter Vanberkel), ORTEC (Egbert van der Veen), and LUMC (Maartje Zonderland). The objective was to develop workload prediction models and capacity planning approaches to optimize the end-to-end flow of patients through hospitals. This has led to the development of the Integral Capacity Planning (ICP) concept, which is in great demand by hospitals in the Netherlands and even abroad. The many requests for implementation of this concept (development of dashboards/decision support, organizational change, education) have even led us to start a spin-off company, Rhythm BV, in collaboration with ORTEC bv. Rhythm is implementing Integral Capacity Management in various Dutch hospitals, and even in Norway, in collaboration with CHOIR and Sintef (Norway) in the iCope project (funded by the Norwegian Research Council).
In subsequent PhD projects, integral capacity planning was and is further being developed (e.g. by Aleida Braaksma, Gréanne Leeftink, Thomas Schneider, Hayo Bos). Integral capacity planning is now further extended to encompass multiple care providers (for example 'nurse pooling' between organizations). Here lies a great potential for efficiency improvement in healthcare, so we will be focusing on further development of integral capacity planning in many years to come.
In August 2021, PhD student Hayo Bos started at the Diakonnessenhuis (hospital in Utrecht, NL). He will focus on expanding our research on Integral Capacity Management, particularly with the aim to reduce workload stress of healthcare staff. Hayo is ideally embedded in the hospital's ICM team, which puts him at the forefront of the capacity analysis and decision making in this hospital. His subprojects span the entire hospital. The first project focuses on tactical planning of the operating theatre department.