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Hospitals of the future

With the “Hospitals of the future” project and study, GS1 Switzerland and economiesuisse are demonstrating ways of improving the value chain in an important area of the healthcare sector. In today’s hospitals, the systematic integration of information flows in particular unlocks considerable potential for improvement. The study describes what an ideal hospital stay would look like from the point of view of the patient. 
The study team at Bern University of Applied Sciences led by Prof. Jürgen Holm has conducted extensive research to document and evaluate the requirements of the ideal stay. Their most important finding is that, unless technical and cultural interfaces in hospitals are synchronised, it is difficult to harness untapped potential.

To improve the information flow at those interfaces and thereby make the processes consistent, GS1 Switzerland and the Department of Medical Informatics at Bern University of Applied Sciences have developed the IXPRA method (“Interface Crossculture Process Analysis”).

IXPRA®: identifying gaps in information and improving processes

As part of the “Hospitals of the future” study, the IXPRA process analysis method was developed and tested in practical hospital applications. All the participants took a positive view of IXPRA and found it easy to understand. Of particular note is the innovative representation of the participants and ICT systems in the IXPRA interaction level, which makes it easier to identify disruptions in the process.

IXPRA in practice

The IXPRA method involves three steps: analysing, understanding and improving. A process matrix (fig. 1) serves as a reference model and makes it easier to identify individual hospital processes in the context of their technical, personnel and cultural interfaces. This reference model makes it possible to go as deep as necessary into individual process steps until the ICT, personnel and technical and cultural interfaces involved can be identified. 

The IXPRA software tool supports IXPRA analysis. It is used to prepare, model and document the data and information collected in discussions and workshops with process participants. The result is a completely visualised and documented process, which is easy for participants to understand. 

The documentation forms the basis for consultations with participating stakeholders to decide measures for improvement or elimination of the identified gaps in Information.

Advantages of the IXPRA method

  • Easy-to-understand overview of overall and sub-processes
  • Representation at any process depth
  • Cultural and technical interfaces can be identified
  • Highlights gaps in information
  • Good basis for discussions for subsequent process improvements

For a safer supply chain in the healthcare sector

The “Hospitals of the future” study is part of the overall project entitled “Development of an integrated strategy for a sustainable supply chain in the healthcare sector: potential, tailored solutions, application”. The project began in November 2012 with the objective of analysing the overall flow of goods, information and money with regard to patients. Medication, medical products, consumable materials, treatment pathways and the appropriate invoicing of services were all taken into account. The overall project is divided into a number of sub-steps. The “Hospitals of the future” project was the first step. The second step, “Hospitals of the future live”, sees our partners putting the findings and methods developed into place as part of a pilot project.