Business Management - a matter of life and death

When Sjukehusapoteka Vest develops new work processes, it is of literally vital importance that the procedures are carried out correctly and that services and products meet the required standard. People's lives and health – and the future of the company – are dependent on this. 


Sjukehusapoteka Vest HF (SAV) is a publically-owned company with 230 employees at four pharmacies, located in Førde, Bergen Haugesund and Stavanger. They have an annual turnover in excess of NOK 900 million and they service a market of close to 1.1 million people. In 2013 the management of SAV realised that the old quality management system did not meet the required standard. The four pharmacies within the organisation had different work methods, routines and procedures, and there was no common best practice.

With help from Qualisoft, SAV has now implemented business management based on Qualiware software. The lion's share of the core processes and some of the support processes in SAV have been charted, revised and re-drafted. Management at SAV realised a number of gains only shortly after the launch of the business portal.

Approaching best practice

"One substantial gain with this project is that we have coordinated practice across the four pharmacies, which are all in different geographical locations. There were different solutions as to how critical work tasks should be performed. The new business portal allowed us to rein things in and create best practice for a number of important processes," explains Øystein Torgauten, project manager at SAV.

Anchored throughout the organisation

According to Torgauten, the aim of the project "Business management in SAV" is to become more commercially focussed, as well as improving skills and capacity for change within the organisation.

"Employees from all parts of the organisation have taken part in the project and contributed to it. This creates a sense of ownership and involvement. The employees also have some good ideas and specific experience of customers' needs. We have succeeded in this project in promoting a lot of knowledge at multiple levels within the organisation," says Torgauten.

Ownership has been an important key word in implementing the SAV project, and senior consultant in Qualisoft, Anette Edvarsen, praises Sjukehusapoteka for their commitment.
"A major strength in the project is strong anchoring within senior management and a clear goal profile. Sjukehusapoteka sees the benefit in establishing a uniform management system based on process management, and they have already made substantial progress in this area of the health sector," explains Edvardsen.

In order to strengthen ownership and anchoring internally in the company following the first phase, Sjukehusapoteka and its parent company, Helse Vest RHF, are establishing their own process expertise in modelling, among other areas.
"The employees who work on describing processes in Qualiware describe learning to use the tool as demanding, but following a proper introduction they are now able to use it. The software is relatively easy to use – it's complex, but not complicated. As I see it, the software allows the user to do a lot 'out of the box' and it meets all our needs. The employees have an intuitive understanding of the processes and flow diagrams," says Torgauten of the QualiWare software.

An important reference

The first phase of the project "Business management in SAV" focussed on describing a selection of core and supporting processes and implementing agreed practice across the pharmacies. The portal functions as a reference work. It links overall goals with goals at process level, and it links roles to requirements for expertise and to training. As a hospital pharmacy, we handle specialised and rare pharmaceutical products, complicated reimbursement arrangements, in-house production of pharmaceutical products and advice concerning use and handling in hospitals and by patients. Quality and business management are well integrated in the portal.

The project is now to be continued into a new phase focussing on management processes etc.
"We want to focus on actually following through on our plans. Management means following overall decisions all the way through to day-to-day operations, and using experiences from operations in order to improve processes. Process ownership and an "end-to-end" perspective on what we do entail changes in responsibility and increased focus on the customer. SAV is now organised on a linear basis, though with processes across the lines, a matrix organisation is established."

Management system for increased competitiveness

In addition to operating in a complicated specialised area, SAV has also been presented with commercial challenges. ESA, which monitors competition in the EU States, requires companies that are exposed to competition to be run on market terms.

"As a hospital pharmacy, we have to be able to compete in terms of both quality and efficiency in order to have a right to exist. There are a lot of operators who would like to get into the health market. At SAV we are very good at the technical side, but our income could be better. This is where process control can help us," says Øystein Torgauten.

Why did SAV need a management systemt styringssystem?
"We had a quality system that we had to do something about. It was difficult to maintain and not very suitable for business management."What

What is the goal of the project?
"We have to be competitive, customers have to choose our services and we have to adapt to customer demands faster than before. SAV must have an "end-to-end" focus so that we can control our processes from beginning to end."

Have you learned from any experiences?
"SAV is an organisation with a lot of knowledge and expertise, and active use of improvement proposals, together with an easily-accessible functionality in the system, has helped to utilise this."

How had Qualisoft contributed to the prosjektet?
"Qualisoft managed the work of drawing up processes, it helped us to facilitate workshops and it contributed to other areas of learning. Qualisoft's knowledge and experience proved decisive in having Qualiware adapted to the needs present in SAV and in getting the system up and running. We are now well equipped to take the project further," says Torgauten.


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