Healthy changes at Groote Schuur

TAURIQ HASSEN

Groote Schuur Hospital staff who have come up with bright social innovations were applauded at an event on Tuesday April 5 to acknowledge the impact they have made on other hospital employees and patients.

The innovation programme was launched in October 2014, and was offered by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship – a specialised unit at UCT’s Graduate School of Business, the GSH Facilities and Management Board as well as the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences. More then R1 million was invested in the programme, the dedicated Innovation Hub and the employee projects and tools.

Ten projects were launched and two in particular, the Time Machine and the Guide Pill Box, were able to refine their innovations after the envisioned outcomes did not materialise.

The Time Machine allows employees to design their own work arrangements by letting them see the impact their shifts have on the patients.

Project team leader Hester Burger explained that employee shifts were often based on historical arrangements, and top-down attempts to change these were often met with resistance.

This tool not only allowed healthcare workers to positively impact patients, but also demonstrated that the use of an outdated patient booking system contributed to processing delays. This has now been addressed and results are being monitored, with The Time Machine being tried out in the Radiology Department.

“The important thing is that we allowed the design process to catalyse new thought processes,” said Ms Burger.

Dr Wafeeqah Mohamed, a community service doctor, created the Guide Pill Box.

For many doctors, a common complaint is that patients do not understand the medication they are on, or when or how to take it, but Dr Mohamed’s Guide Pill Box has changed this.

It acts as a medication storage device, which also supports the education of patients about their chronic medication.

Dr Mohamed’s challenge was that she was a “one-man team” and so had to find the time to move the project along. But due to her tenacity and passion, the project has now received support from the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences and students participating in the Health Innovation and Design course. The students will be assisting Dr Mohamed in piloting the Guide Pill Box prototype at Groot Schuur Hospital.

“These innovations have challenged the employees to think of ways to not only improve the services they offer to our patients, but to also improve our working environment.

“All the projects have shown that employees are more engaged and keen to embrace such change, much more than we anticipated at the start of the project,” said Dr Bhavna Patel, CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital.

Dr Francois Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre, said: “We’re excited to see what the employees come up with next, as the agency within each of them has now been unlocked to pioneer again as social innovators.

“They are now empowered to address health challenges they face within the hospital or on behalf of their patients.”

Some of the other projects include: eWard Board; Informed consent in organ donation; a redesigned ICU 24-hour patient flow chart; Dare to Care coaching initiative; the Resource Hub, and the Kidney Cares Clinic, the adolescent-centered renal clinic.