The heart of any hospital is it’s staff. The biggest most beautiful buildings with the fanciest equipment can not cure a single patient, if not for motivated and empathetic staff. Everybody from the the supritendent to the gaurds at a hospital have a very important role to play in the healing of EVERY patient.
Yet, when you enter any government hospital, big or small, the staff is extremely demotivated, unempathetic or simply missing. The number 1 problem you ask anybody will be – we are short staffed and can not manage the load of patients.
When we entered one such hospital as part of our Government Hospital Improvement Project, everybody from the top to the bottom came up with lists of how many more staff to hire for their work. We patiently heard them out, but very well knew that we or they can’t hire a single resource without a large bureaucratic process involving months.
We started our process by looking around:
1. We observed,
2. did time motion studies,
3. stood in a corner and observed,
4. did some spagetti diagram studies.
1. A nurses writes her medicine indent 3 times on 3 different pieces of paper
2. A doctor writes the prescription on 2 pieces of paper -> one for the patient and one for the dispensary
3. A patient takes 40 minutes to reach any room, asking staff for directions
We came up with 170 such observations in the 2 departments we were working in.
It’s fairly obvious,
1. Doctors and staff are spending more time doing non-clinical tasks rather than seeing patients.
2. Their mental bandwidth is also reduced because they are answering silly questions like directions, product.
3. Tasks which they can delegate easily are also eating into their time.
The solution to all these problems are straight forward, yet nobody is empowered or accountable to improve them, even if they are motivated to do the same. They also don’t have the time or expertise for the same.
Sushrat Foundation was launched with this same very purpose -> to enable sharing of global best practices in hospital management, to improve hospital capacity without capex or hiring and to improve patient safety. All of this starts with the most important element – staff. We must reduce staff stress and work on staff motivation.
Working on these 2 components can improve the functioning of a hospital by upto 30% by just spending around Rs. 3000 per bed.