Quality and Care
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Eddie Clinton
A four-pronged approach has reaped dividends for Hillcrest Private Hospital over the past 12 months as the ongoing development, diversification and expansion of the building’s facilities maintained, and even gathered further momentum.
With key goals encompassing a revised recruitment drive, an enhancement in quality and a more structured leadership hierarchy, the Hospital’s improvements in 2015 have subsequently paved the way for a new injection of targets in 2016, with continuous improvement a necessity, rather than a choice.
“The main goals for 2015 were divided into four key areas,” explains Hospital Manager, Glenn de Villiers. “Firstly we wanted to recruit specialists to supplement or expand our service offering, and secondly we wanted to drive a holistic quality approach to nursing which ensured a positive patient experience.
“Thirdly we wanted to ensure that, at a leadership level, we had the correct structure to enhance our vision of a quality service and lastly we wanted to grow our business for future development and sustainability.
“In reviewing this, we have done well in the past 12 months, as we have added specialists and increased our service offering. We were rated by our Discovery patients as being in the top 20 hospitals in South Africa and we have restructured our nursing division by appointing two Deputy Nursing Managers to maintain our nursing standards to a growing patient base.”
The Hospital continues to show year-on-year growth at double-digit levels in terms of patient volume, making this positive internal infrastructure development all the more pivotal, while additions to the offering - including a new pre-admission clinic - has further refined the service at hand.
De Villiers adds: “National Renal Care has also opened up a 14 bed unit, which provides a holistic service to renal patients, while the establishment of the new nursing structure and expansion to the Neonatal ICU has focused our approach in driving quality and achieving better patient outcomes.
“Due to the fact that the healthcare environment is competitive and it’s fairly easy to replicate buildings and equipment, our critical differentiating factor is in our supporting specialists and the level of quality and care that is provided to patients.”
The consequential commitment to continuous quality and care that is achieved is another key differentiator, and the Hospital has had to balance this dedication with its need to meet ever-growing capacity requirements with the future in mind.
Occupancy has grown 14 percent year-on-year while theatre cases have also escalated by 20 percent over the same period.
“These are all indications that the Hospital is showing good growth versus the previous year, despite the fact that new private hospitals have opened in 2015,” de Villiers notes.
As a result, an improvement of facilities, as well as simply an expansion, has occurred with the quality of care still far more pivotal than the quantity of care services on offer.
The Hospital Manager continues: “During 2015, the centralised management structure was dissolved and brought back to a hospital level, to allow for better patient interaction and coordination.
“A number of suites were also refurbished to cater for the needs of practising specialists and new equipment was purchased for surgeons in theatre.”
As with any business or establishment expansion, however, the challenge in not only adding to and improving the existing service, but integrating it into the traditional values, is never an easy one to overcome; and this has proven to be an especially prominent concern for Hillcrest amid the past year of progress.
“One of the key challenges is to ensure that the hospital recruits the correct staff with the same attitude and ethos to quality and patient outcomes,” de Villiers affirms. “Hence, one of the key drivers is to make Hillcrest Private Hospital an employer of choice.
“A number of initiatives have been launched during 2015 to ensure that management provides a positive environment for staff to work in. These include our Employee Forum, Professional Nurses Forum, ‘Town Hall’ meetings, and our open door policy to all senior managers.
“The Hospital has also embarked on an aggressive policy to ensure that continuous education is provided to staff, to ensure that their skills are up-to-date with current trends.”
All-told, Hillcrest’s workforce has expanded by a sizable 11 percent over the past 12 months, and the Hospital’s commitment to personnel development is certainly not confined to the walls of the building either, as its corporate social responsibility facet evolves in equally prominent fashion.
“For Hillcrest Private Hospital, it is important from a director and management perspective that we involve and participate in the community,” de Villiers explains. “During the past year, the Hospital has been involved in numerous projects, including: a Santa Shoe Box Charity Christmas drive to provide clothing and stationery to rural underprivileged children; a Winter warmth drive, collecting clothing for the underprivileged; a breast cancer drive; the Sunflower fund – a bone marrow donor organisation – supporting their yearly bandana drive; and free community screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.”
Close affinities with local schools to nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals also integrates smoothly into the Hospital’s overall ethos, which, unsurprisingly, places quality care at the centre of all initiatives and investments.
“For the hospital, the key differentiators are our supporting doctors, the quality of the staff that we employ and the level of quality and service that we deliver to our patients,” de Villiers concludes. “The year of 2016 will be one of great change for Hillcrest, as the hospital gears itself for the development of a vascular theatre, provision of a catheterisation laboratory and the provision of more medical and surgical beds.
“However the fundamental ethos of the business will continue to remain the same. A focus on delivery of quality care and positive outcomes for patients remains our top priority.
“Linked to this is the need to ensure that, as a hospital, we are still responsive to the needs of our doctors that support the Hospital and to the needs of the community in which we operate.”