Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering

2018

Fraser Greenroyd

Project

SMART Healthcare – optimising hospital designs and processes to improve efficiency and enhance patient experience

Company

Buro Happold Ltd

Supervisors

Academic:
Prof Andrew Price
Dr Peter Demian

Industrial:
Dr Becky Hayward
Dr Shrikant Sharma

Director of Research
Professor Stephen Ison

Research Period

2014 - 2018

SMART Healthcare – optimising hospital designs and processes to improve efficiency and enhance patient experience

Company Background:

Founded in Bath in 1976 by the late Professor Sir 'Ted' Happold as a traditional partnership, Buro Happold is a multidisciplinary engineering and strategic consultancy for the built environment. Their engineers work as proactive members of the design team, alongside architects and other professionals, and will provide either a specific discipline or the total engineering input, combining general and specialist engineering expertise, as required. www.burohappold.com

Current state-of-the-art:

In the UK and internationally the healthcare industry continually faces significant challenges: to increase efficiency and patient experience, whilst concurrently making energy and cost savings. Any existing or proposed facilities must also be flexible to accommodate short and long-term fluctuations in demand, changes in operational processes and rapid advancements in technologies.

Unfortunately, healthcare design continues to be led by prescriptive regulations, often leading to sub-optimal solutions which do not consider the complex interaction between diverse journeys, functions and processes. The operational planning too is often driven by conventional analytical processes that do not capture the holistic performance and fail to exploit the advanced simulation techniques available. The results are staggering: poor patient experience and staff pressure [Appleby, 2013] are contrasted by under-utilised space in hospitals which are valued at £1bn/year for UK [EC Harris, 2011] and £1.5bn/year for US [USGAO, 2012] respectively.

There is a significant gap in the industry and an increasing demand for simulation tools that produce accurate prediction of journey patterns and simple, realistic visualisations of utilisation and efficiency to enable rapid optioneering and optimisation. Such tools could be used by stakeholders to facilitate truly evidence based decision making by testing the impact of different space use configurations and operational processes against vital business parameters.

The research will be carried out as part of SMART Space team who are at the forefront of developing innovative computational tools for the construction industry. We have a dedicated team to deliver integrated modelling of people, spaces and processes to optimise space layout, design and management. Our work is driven by rigorous research (both in-house and in collaboration with the academia) and sophisticated tools covering realtime capture of journeys to static network analysis and dynamic simulation of people movement. SMART Move, our in house crowd flow simulation software, brings together the strengths of network modelling and agent-based simulation technologies to offer integrated modelling of people, processes and spaces.

Aims and Objectives:

To develop and test simple and effective analysis and simulation tools to aid effective design and planning of healthcare facilities.

The main objectives are to:

  • establish the start-of- art based on a review of best practises tested/implemented in hospitals and review of business and performance parameters specific to the healthcare industry;
  • define the complex interactions between patient, staff and visitor journeys /processes across a chosen set of departments within the hospitals;
  • define key parameters that define and influence people’s behaviour and experiences. What makes people happy? What drives or limits efficiency and effectiveness in hospitals?
  • develop analytical models to represent the above interactions into dashboards highlighting business and performance parameters such as patient comfort, process efficiency, staff utilisation, etc;support the development of (or develop) simulation tools to test a range of what-if scenarios and design/operational parameters;
  • test and validate these models on real-world consultancy projects; and
  • implement and test simple dashboards to monitor and test the effectiveness of design and operational interventions.

This ambitious research project is intended to cover the following aspects of the big challenges identified above:

  • A review of best practises tested/implemented in hospitals.
  • Review of business and performance parameters specific to the healthcare industry.
  • Post occupancy surveys and realtime monitoring to capture data on utilisation and efficiency.
  • Outlining of complex interactions between patient, staff and visitor journeys /processes across a chosen set of departments within the hospitals.
  • Development of analytical models to represent the above interactions into dashboards highlighting business and performance parameters such as patient comfort, process efficiency, staff utilisation, etc.
  • Supporting the development of (or developing) simulation tools to test a range of what-if scenarios and design/operational parameters.
  • Testing of these models on real-world consultancy projects.
  • Implementation and testing of simple dashboards to monitor and test the effectiveness of design and operational interventions.

Proposed Research Design and Methods:

The proposed research will use appropriate methods that are needed to realise each objective, including: a thorough literature review; action based research through live case studies; evaluation of the spatial planning, analysis and flow simulations, of existing the current state of art in healthcare; analysis of UK and international targets, KPIs, and reports outlining best practices, departmental adjacencies required, analytical approaches used; and developing, testing and validating process analysis tools and dashboards used to support the planning and operational management of hospitals.

Expected Benefits and Outcomes:

Buro Happold’s ultimate goal is to bring a step change in the healthcare industry’s capability to deliver hospitals and policies that provide optimum performance with enhanced user experience.

This project will offer a valuable opportunity to deliver top quality academic research on real-world healthcare projects. The candidate will participate on international consultancy projects and use them for developments and testing of the research outcomes.

Key anticipated outcomes of the project are as follows.

  • Simple, intuitive but sophisticated simulation tools for rapid optioneering and optimisation of hospital designs and processes.
  • Dashboards for realtime monitoring and planning of hospital performance and operations.
  • Simple models to analyse the complex interrelationship between primary care and hospitals.
  • A library of KPIs (business and performance parameters), targets and best practises for hospitals and clinics.
  • A consolidated knowledge-base of the departmental adjacencies required.
  • In addition, there will be opportunities for working on real life projects with the Industrial Sponsor where the research engineer can benefit from continuous professional development and gain hands-on experience on the design, simulation, analysis and consultancy, and their own simulation and analysis tools.
  • Production of papers in high-impact journals to promote the findings of the research and demonstrate the advantages of collaborative engineering between academia and universities.
  • Continuation of an already successful relationship between Loughborough University and Buro Happold Ltd.Introduction of sophisticated modelling and process optimisation technologies to healthcare design and operations.
  • Ultimately, help improve the patient, staff and visitor experience.

 

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+44 (0)1509 222623

The Centre Administrator
CICE
Loughborough University
Leicestershire
LE11 3TU

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