Cari-Anne Quinn turns her focus to industry in this episode to understand how the private sector can work together with the NHS in order to improve patient outcomes.
Healthy Thinking visits Zimmer Biomet, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of medical implants. And it’s a demand area. Nearly 200,000 hip and knee operations were performed in Wales, England and Northern Ireland in 2017. The hips and knees produced at the company’s Bridgend plant - its second-largest in Europe - are shipped across the world.
But the company is going further, working hand in hand with hospitals’ orthopaedic teams to improve patient experience during their hospital stay and to help reduce costs.
“We know that those processes can be very inefficient.” said Ruth Griffiths, UK Lead ZB Connect Signature Solutions, “Hospitals are only places you should come to when you have to come to them. I think that any pathway optimization programme will deliver significant returns that will help the hospital to be able to deliver care to the wider community, reducing their waiting lists and reducing their cost per patient.”
We visit Wrexham Maelor Hospital in northeast Wales which worked with the company to help reduce the length of stay for orthopaedic patients.
Neil Windsor, head of innovation at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, ran the pilot, which involved taking patients through a ‘joint school’ before they were operated on: “The main premise of the programme was if we psychologically prepare the patients for surgery, that outcomes will be better, length of stay will be reduced,”.
“Almost overnight we’d halved length to stay.” Neil continued, “Interestingly, clinical complications weren't increased whatsoever. We had no increase in readmission rates as a consequence for the earlier discharge. Patients loved it.”
“Collaborative working between industry and the healthcare providers can make a huge difference,” says Cari-Anne Quinn, podcast presenter and Chief Executive of Life Sciences Hub Wales, "It can mean that Health Boards can deliver more with less to improve the quality of care for Welsh patients”.