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Taking the productivity pulse of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

  Wednesday, 25 l 08 l 2010 Source:  The Straits Times   
By: Cai Haoxiang

EVERY week, staff at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital come together to discuss how their work processes can be improved.

This is the result of the hospital adopting the Japanese productivity philosophy of kaizen, or continuous improvement.

This practice and the hospital’s other productivity initiatives were shared with some 60 union leaders from the industrial, public and service sectors yesterday.

One example is the hospital’s kaizen trolley, a specially designed trolley that minimises the need for nurses to get supplies from a central station. This reduces unnecessary “walk time”, said chief human resource officer Lynn Gan of Alexandra Health, the public health group which runs the hospital.

“Productivity gain occurs when work becomes less of a hassle,” she added. The tour of Singapore’s newest hospital in Yishun comes amid the ongoing national drive to raise productivity, especially in the service sector.

The unionists, led by labour chief Lim Swee Say and other National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) leaders, strolled along spacious corridors and soaked up the serene atmosphere created by cascading water, 100 species of plants and views of Yishun lake.

Said NTUC deputy secretary-general Halimah Yacob: “I was impressed by the subsidised wards. They are new, well-lit, and not as gloomy and crowded compared to other hospitals.”

Having toilets and fewer beds within the Class B2 wards also contributed to an increased quality of care, she noted.

Healthcare Services Employees’ Union general secretary Diana Chia was struck by the spaciousness of the hospital.

“The question of productivity is how you deliver care,” she said. “The hospital provides a beautiful, ideal setting that allows easier communication and engagement between health-care professionals and the public.”

The hospital’s emergency department, which opened in June, has a pharmacy, thus eliminating the need for patients to queue separately for prescriptions at the main pharmacy.

This has enabled 70 per cent of patients with non-life threatening conditions, who go to the department, to leave the hospital within an hour, said a statement from Alexandra Health.

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