Case Study University Medical Center Utrecht

University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) strives to achieve the highest levels in, patient care, scientific research and education. By dedicating themselves to continuous improvements, they can pioneer cutting-edge treatments, foster groundbreaking findings, and deliver a standard of care that meets the healthcare needs for today, and the future. To achieve this, the hospital chose to conform to multiple quality standards including the JCI accreditation standards. In order to meet all the requirements an IT solution was developed and deployed to support the entire process of measuring and sharing non-conformities and obtaining insights to identify areas for improvement.

About the Hospital Organization

With approximately 12,000 employees and more than 1,000 beds, the University Medical Center Utrecht is one of the largest public health care institutions in The Netherlands. The organization consists of UMC Utrecht, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital and the Medical Faculty. Care, research and education are the three mainstays of UMC Utrecht.

The Challenge

The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a WHO-approved organization that assesses global healthcare institutions. To achieve its quality objectives in this framework the hospital want to assess whether their processes and procedures are carried out in conformance with the relevant requirements and above all grasp the opportunities for improvement. A key part of the JCI’s survey process is the tracer methodology. The process of measuring with this method, involving more than 1400 aspects of care, research and education to be measured, is a very labour-intensive and complex process. Existing instruments to support this implementation process could not or not fully meet the wishes of UMC Utrecht. This gave rise to look at a new solution that enables the organization to perform tracers and internal audits in an efficient and consistent manner, which also supports communication and quick feedback of results.

The Solution

The empirical study showed that a specifically designed app could support the process of collecting and sharing tracer data in an easy and user-friendly manner. Together with the app a platform was developed where the standards collection can be managed. Findings of the tracer, with notes and pictures were directly connected to the standard elements. All results were collected in a central database and shared with stakeholders through a dashboard. The dashboard provides an at-a-glance view of the accreditation progress. Thanks to an intensive collaboration between IT experts and healthcare professionals of the UMC Utrecht a powerful “tracer system” was developed.

In Practice

In practice the solution seems to work. The willingness and enthusiasm of all medical and nursing personnel to communicate with each other by using the tool was high. The tracer findings are now registered once and effectively and automatically processed. Department heads now receive feedback immediately after the tracer is performed. The hospital saves time and money and there is more time to focus on quality improvement. In UMC Utrecht much more than 100 internal audits per year are performed. For the professionals there it is unthinkable to do this without the app.

“We come at least four times a year with our iPads unannounced at a department along with two people…”

Robert van Barneveld at UMC Utrecht explains that dashboards and management information is an important tool to achieve behavioural change. “The information obtained from the tracers will be displayed in a dashboard, on the intranet site, which shows on the basis of color how well the hospital, a division or department scores on certain parts. We come at least four times a year with our iPads unannounced at a department along with two people and view records, observe processes and cabinets and interview staff and patients. This provides potential opportunities for improvement and best practices that can help us improve care.”

“Our hospital achieved within two years at one time the JCI accreditation with the new academic accreditation standards, where only 5% of all hospitals succeed in the world. Thanks to our QTracer application and dashboard with continuous quality measurements. Since we use the tool we save around 50% of our time on reporting.”

Robert van Barneveld
Manager Care Division Heart and Lungs, ambassador JCI
University Medical Center Utrecht – The Netherlands

Case Study University Medical Center Utrecht