Outpatient care plays a central role in the debate on the future financing of hospitals. What requirements do the new concepts entail and how can Stiegelmeyer support healthcare centres? We talked about this with Tabea Lanzke, marketing product manager for the hospital division at Stiegelmeyer.
The German dictionary has yet to include "Ambulantisierung" ("outpatientisation"), but it is omnipresent in the discussion about the future of hospitals. What is behind this term?
Outpatient care is a global issue. Everywhere considerations are being made as to how the costs of hospitalisation can be reduced: in other words, the costs of admitting a patient, sleeping, eating and being treated in hospital. Certain examinations, some forms of treatment and even operations do not actually justify hospitalisation.
Why is the topic so relevant right now?
Healthcare systems around the world can no longer generate their own funding costs, especially after Covid. Their resources are exhausted and the deficit in their balance sheets is large in many places. They are looking for solutions to optimise treatment processes and provide them outside of inpatient care.
How does outpatient care work?
The patient receives an appointment at a healthcare centre, which may be run by a hospital or a specialist medical facility. They go there, are examined, treated or undergo a minor surgical procedure. This is followed by a short recovery phase and then the patient goes home again. Endoscopic examinations, such as bronchoscopies, colonoscopies or arthroscopies of the knee, can also be considered for this type of outpatient care. Minor surgical procedures offer even greater potential. This could be a root canal operation at the dentist, a dermatologist removing a mole or a nephrologist inserting a dialysis shunt. In all these procedures, the patient goes through three phases: preparation, execution and post-operative recovery.
What requirements must beds or gurneys fulfil for outpatient care?
Normally, the patient arrives at the healthcare centre on foot, sits in a chair, is prepared and also walks to the operating theatre. Aftercare following the operation is then essential. The patient should often lie down during the post-operative recovery phase. However, an electric hospital bed with many functions is oversized for this purpose. It is also often not suitable for the available space, as it is often too wide. This is because the new healthcare centres are not only being created in empty hospital wards or new buildings, but also in shopping centres or office floors. Although they often score points there with their central location and elegant waiting rooms, the corridors and doors towards the treatment room are getting narrower and narrower. There are no regulations for this.
How can Stiegelmeyer support the healthcare centres in this situation?
Our Mobilo transport gurney is very functional and fulfils the requirements for the rest and recovery phase after an operation. The Mobilo can be selected with a two- or four-section mattress base so that the patient's position can be individually adjusted. For example, the backrest can be adjusted accordingly if the patient feels unwell or nauseous. The four-section mattress base enables a cardiac chair position that provides additional comfort. Safety side elements prevent falls and provide safety. An infusion stand can be integrated as an option. A dining tray is also available as a storage option. With an external width of 87 cm, the Mobilo is narrow and easy to manoeuvre. It fits into small rooms and through normal door openings.
Is the Mobilo also economically convincing?
As a functional transport and resting gurney, it has its place in outpatient care. It is designed for basic care and is attractively priced. The Mobilo offers much more than the usual examination tables without castors and safety sides. It is a gurney on which you can rest and sleep, while at the same time offering relaxed seating comfort with the optional four-section mattress base.
Is there another Stiegelmeyer product for outpatient care centres?
With its narrow dimensions, our Quado bedside cabinet is an ideal match for the Mobilo. I see two main strengths here: Placed at the foot of the gurney, the Quado is a comfortable writing surface for documentation. The patient's blood pressure and heart rate often have to be measured and recorded during the recovery phase. The Quado is also a practical place to store personal items. The patient usually arrives with shoes, jacket and papers, which can be safely stored in the Quado right next to the Mobilo. When the patient leaves, they simply take their things back themselves. And, of course, the Quado also serves as a multifunctional companion here, allowing medical professionals to transport materials for taking blood samples, for example.