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The Minister of Health wants hospitals to work smarter

The Norwegian Minister of Health wants hospitals to work smarter and shift more tasks from nurses to skilled workers.

In Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol’s annual hospital speech, the need for task sharing was emphasised in order to optimise the use of available expertise and address the shortage of healthcare personnel in the future. «We are at a crossroads. We need to work smarter. But politicians must also make it possible. Through appropriate task sharing, digitalisation, and innovation. And we must have the healthcare industry on board. »

The Minister of Health wants hospitals to work smarter
Photo: Esten Borgos, Borgos Foto AS

The focus is thus on working smarter, including through task sharing, without clear references to how this should happen in practice. For many years, DNV Imatis has been well-positioned to meet this challenge through our established solutions, where collaboration and task management are two of the core areas.

Agile task management and effective communication

A key component of DNV Imatis’ solution is agile task management. This function plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless communication and collaboration. By integrating all departments into a unified technological ecosystem, real-time information flow is facilitated from emergency departments to wards and support services such as cleaning, maintenance, and transport. This system enables efficient management of tasks, reflected in faster response times based on previous implementations handling thousands of tasks in the first weeks. This not only improves operational efficiency but also contributes to a safer and more coordinated environment.

Competence-based task distribution

«A shortage of professionals in the future means that we need to use our expertise smarter. Therefore, the hospitals are instructed through the assignment letter to prioritise task sharing so that people can use their expertise where it is needed most, » said the Minister of Health to FriFagbevegelse.

By integrating competency-based criteria into task management, where each user defines their own competences, tasks can be allocated based on these defined skills. This not only ensures quicker action on tasks but also ensures that tasks are performed by individuals with the right competences.

By utilising mobile applications or integrations with existing systems, users can efficiently sign up for availability and select specific areas where they are qualified to handle tasks. This creates a clear list of available tasks based on the user’s competence and preferences.

This approach allows, for example, a porter or hospital host who may work across multiple areas to receive tasks they can assist with across the building. At the same time, an assistant on a ward that cannot move very far can easily select their floor or wing, and even specify exact zones where they can contribute.

Resource management

The Minister of Health also emphasises the importance of using technology to support efficient use of time and resources. “We will prioritise digital collaboration to facilitate good patient pathways and a smarter working day.” There are already good solutions for this. Digital overview boards that combine logistics with resource and patient management not only help to better resource management, identify bottlenecks and optimise workflows, but also improve collaboration and patient safety.

Adaptation to different healthcare environments

A crucial factor is using systems that are customised to the users – not the other way around. It also requires flexibility that, in line with development, changes in workflow and new needs, always reflects and matches the current and desired workflows within each organisation. This flexibility and adaptability facilitates continuous improvement. At the same time, collaboration and efficiency are strengthened, creating a positive impact for both patients and staff.

In response to Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol’s call for smarter use of healthcare resources, solutions already exist today that support the expectation of task delegation and smarter, workload-reducing ways of working. However, it does not happen automatically, and success does not automatically follow the acquisition of tools that can potentially realise significant gains. Change management plays a crucial role in successful implementation. It is not just a matter of introducing technological tools, but embracing new ways of working, and working differently – and smarter. Not just for one professional group, but for all roles across the hospital.