Business Process Re-Engineering Case Study

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BUSINESS PROCESS REENGINEERING AT THE HOSPITALS: A CASE STUDY AT SINGAPORE HOSPITAL Arun Kumar and Linet Ozdamar School of Mechanical & Production Engineering Nanyang Technological University 50 Nanyang Avenue, SINGAPORE-639798 Email: makumar@ntu.edu.sg

KEYWORDS Business process reengineering, Healthcare. ABSTRACT As health care costs increase, there is a need for healthcare service providers to look for ways to contain costs and to achieve a higher efficiency at their operating facilities without sacrificing quality. This paper studies a case in employing business process reengineering techniques on one aspect of a health care service – surgical work. The system is simulated focusing on the processes that contribute to the effective functioning of an operating theatre. INTRODUCTION Business process reengineering (BPR) has become increasingly important in recent years. Customers now have the choice of different product and service providers, to provide them with the same core product or service that they want. Over the last fifteen years, companies have been forced to reengineering their business processes to stay competitive because customers are demanding better products and services. Improving and redesigning business processes is paramount for businesses to stay competitive. With the escalating health care costs, healthcare service providers in Singapore are also continuously seeking ways to stay competitive and provide quality service to the customers. Little research has been done on the employment of BPR in healthcare systems. Healthcare industry has traditionally emphasized on breakthroughs in operating procedures and technology in the bid to stay competitive. Healthcare service providers are beginning to understand that BPR initiatives could be a better solution to achieving competitive advantage. The operating theatre suite is a critically important segment of any healthcare organization

that delivers surgical care to patients. It can consume multitudes of resources, but at the same time can generate significant revenue if managed properly. The conflict between the national goal of healthcare and the high cost of surgical operations is a powerful incentive to improve the quality of management of the surgical suite. For this reason, many hospitals are reengineering their operating theatre processes in an effort to establish, restore or boost profitability while retaining quality (Harris and Zitzmann 1998; Gabel et al. 1999). Reengineering techniques enable healthcare service providers to take a careful look at the processes involved within the organization, identifying redundancy and inefficiency that can be removed from the system. This research employs the concept of BPR to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of certain processes involved in surgical operations. This paper intends to explore the possibilities of cost containment/reduction in a particular aspect of the healthcare industry with the application of BPR. A simulation model has been formulated to reduce any inefficiencies or bottlenecks inherent in the system under study. The scope of this research is limited to an operating theatre suite within a hospital. LITERATURE REVIEW The aggregate per capita healthcare expenditure in Singapore has risen consistently for the last three decades from about S$150 in the 1960s to S$800 in the 1997 (Tan and Chew 1997). The healthcare industry in Singapore, like its global counterparts, has been facing tremendous pressures since the turn of the last century. The challenges faced by the industry in the near future are as follows. The accelerated population ageing will have serious implications to the provisions of health care for the elderly population who will occupy

Proceedings 18th European Simulation Multiconference Graham Horton (c) SCS Europe, 2004 ISBN 3-936150-35-4 (book) / ISBN 3-936150-36-2 (CD)

most of the hospital beds with a low turnover rate. Moreover, the entry of more private-sector...
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