Managing Director & Partner
Health care systems around the world are dealing with the same complex challenge: ensuring they evolve their resource planning capabilities to meet future demand with minimal waste in an era of changing health care models, emerging technologies, and rising costs. CARE by BCG helps them plan for their needs today and well into the future.
Many health care systems have found it difficult to make optimal allocation decisions that take real-time capacity into account. COVID-19 made a bad problem worse, as many hospitals and health systems found themselves unable to handle the sudden rise in demand.
That’s why we designed CARE (Capacity and Resource Excellence) by BCG, a data-driven program that leverages artificial intelligence and state of the art analytics to help integrated hospital networks (IHNs) and governments optimize their health care resources for a wide range of scenarios. CARE by BCG ensures that the right mix and quantity of resources are in the right place at the right time. The result: more efficiency, greater accessibility, and lower costs in normal and extraordinary times alike.
At the heart of the program is a customizable cloud-based software-as-a-service tool that hospitals, networks, and governments can use to optimize resource allocation, utilization, and performance within and across facilities. Specific use cases include:
The tool, however, does not operate in a vacuum. The broader CARE by BCG program has governance built in to empower the various stakeholders, identify optimization levers, and get a transformational program in place. It also helps measure health care personnel and hospital productivity by identifying opportunities to standardize workflows and reduce waste.
Designed to regularly collect information on the present and future needs of health care systems’ operational capabilities, CARE by BCG ensures that policy decisions are based on high-quality, accessible data. It also safeguards data privacy and security, which is critical to building and maintaining trust with patients.
But none of these pieces can work without the right people in place. The CARE by BCG program helps train key employees so that they can use the latest technologies to perform the required assessments and optimization exercises.
Most capacity and demand planning approaches determine resource needs using historical demand and supply data. The CARE by BCG health care capacity planning tool uses real-time as well as historical data to simulate future demand. It’s capable of analyzing more than 30 real-time data inputs—catchment populations, disease prevalence rates, the evolution of disease spread, and more—and running scenarios with more than 40 configurable parameters (disease prevalence rates, referral patterns, average length of stay for particular diseases, and so on).
Last year, a public provider needed to ensure that health care resources were optimally allocated across more than 20 hospitals. CARE by BCG was used to analyze more than 1,400 disease types, 1,500 health care procedures, and 135 physician specialties and subspecialties. Approximately 10,000 physicians were assessed as well as approximately 50,000 nurses and other health care professionals. In addition, more than 500 physicians were interviewed for benchmarking purposes. This work helped identify $120 to $150 million in savings on operating expenses on a yearly basis.
CARE by BCG was also used to do a COVID-19 readiness assessment to understand what resources would be needed to treat an outbreak across a range of scenarios. This was followed by a surge analysis, which identified all elective procedures that could be postponed and quantified the surplus resources that would be available in the event of a severe outbreak. This effort freed up 400 beds for COVID-19 patients as well as the shift nurses and diagnostic, technical, and therapeutic professionals who attended to those beds.
To be better prepared for future needs, a European government mapped its hospital system’s capacity against current and future demand and benchmarked these findings against those of other European health systems. The analysis indicated that the hospital system was experiencing high hospitalization rates, longer-than-average inpatient stays, and low bed occupancy rates. The analysis also indicated a greater demand for some clinical specializations and a surplus in others.
To improve access to care, the government licensed hospitals to add clinical specializations that were in great demand to meet their population’s forecasted needs. It also created incentives to promote investment in underserved areas and in specializations where the need was greatest. These actions helped reduce hospitalization rates and shortened inpatient stays, which improved access to those in need and raised bed occupancy rates.