Implementing Service Engineering In Healthcare Services: The Case Of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Nicu)


The study presents a real life case of the human side of service engineering. The NICU of Hillel Yaffe Medical Centre serves premature babies until they reach maturity and may return home and the community. The NICU has been approved to the International Quality Management Standard ISO 9001 which created the infrastructure for conducting continuous improvement process. The service of a NICU department is very complex due to the fact that in addition to treating the premature infant there is a very high involvement of the family members. Naturally, the infant is unable to communicate and his/her parents are acting as the voice of the customer. Thus, the staff must take care on the family members' needs during the hospitalization of their child.

This fact created the Service Concept of the department: our customer is the premature infant together with his parents. Thus, the concept's components include processes supporting this complex clinical environment as: Admission process controlled and measured by Yield measures (Medical Yield and Nursing Yield), family escorting process to support the family with updated data on a regular planned basis regarding the child clinical condition and training sessions prior to the child discharge. Special attention and control is given to the supply of food and liquids (pending on the child's clinical condition).

Prior to discharge the parents get a special training session in order to smooth as much as possible the process of returning home and start their life in the community including the medical support of the authorities outside the hospital. A computerized system was developed to support the management and control of all processes including a digital patient record. The various processes' Yields are presented to the staff (physicians and nurses) every month and a discussion is conducted to verify needed improvement and correction activities. Satisfaction surveys are conducted prior to discharge in order to get inputs regarding all the subjects related to the family's service perception while their child was hospitalized. Results show improvement of the various yield measures.



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