Partnership in efficiency

As the NHS wrestles to keep pace with the rising demands and costs of an ageing demographic, the search for innovation at the point of treatment becomes critical.

Partnerships between public-funded services and the private sector are wreathed in apprehension, but a dynamic collaboration between a busy health trust and Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies (JJMDC) is trailblazing a golden future.

By using technology, data and our expertise, we have co-created bespoke schemes built around our specialties of orthopaedics, general surgery and cardiology

The company’s CareAdvantage initiative is realising the scale of improvement that has been a distant dream for the NHS.

“Being a medical device company means we’re embedded in hospitals and theatres all over the country to support surgeons to get the most out of our products. As a result, you get pretty good at delivering the services and solutions the NHS does not necessarily have the resource for, such as process excellence, change management, and different capabilities across research and development and supply chain,” says Neil Davis, the company’s strategic capabilities director.

“We were finding that hospitals continually talk about change and improvement programmes, but experience a level of frustration about resourcing them. Our CareAdvantage initiative allows us to support our customers to realise their ambitions.

“CareAdvantage is the wind in the sails of existing improvement programmes that are targeting enhanced patient recovery and making theatres more efficient. By using technology, data and our expertise, we have co-created bespoke schemes built around our specialties of orthopaedics, general surgery and cardiology.”

The flagship collaboration with Barts Health NHS Trust, in London, has synchronised the talents of a skilled and dedicated NHS orthopaedics unit and consulting vision of the JJMDC team to drive value across the entire patient pathway. Bed days have been saved, theatres are operating more efficiently, more patients are being seen quicker and their stays in hospitals are shorter.

“These are the goals we all want and it is uplifting to be part of a collaboration that has full commitment from all sides,” adds Mr Davis. “We have people in hospitals across the world and that puts us in a privileged position of being able to help them adopt best practice. It is about using data science to diffuse best clinical practice.

“We’re partnering with a number of NHS trusts across the country with CareAdvantage and Barts is an exciting example of what is possible. We have worked with them for a long time as the provider of choice for orthopaedic equipment, but have taken that experience and local understanding to help reduce the average length of stay for hip and knee patients, and to utilitise theatre time most efficiently.

“We are on track to hit our productivity KPIs, which from a theatre capacity perspective, potentially translates into the ability to undertake an additional 192 procedures. That is a dramatic effect.”

The company’s global experience offers the progressive opportunity to share and implement best practice. Mr Davis says: “If the best treatment pathway for obesity is in the Netherlands, we will help the NHS understand that and, where practical, help them implement it.

“The theory of industry and the NHS working together is evolving and there has never been such a positive attitude from both sides. We have to prove our worth and have been careful to work steadily, but I have been enthused by the NHS’s willingness to embrace the project.”

The JJMDC business model of providing strategic services and solutions alongside medical device purchase and implementation is gathering momentum and generating transformative impact.

“We see this as the business model for the future, not just a one-off project, and we are confident we can make a difference to NHS systems, patient outcomes and save budgets as well. “This is built on using the skills we and the NHS have to their best advantage to secure a brighter future for healthcare.”

View from the frontline

Squeezing improvements from the complex mechanics of a busy orthopaedic unit is not a challenge for the faint hearted.

But a collaboration between a hospital department dedicated to getting the best for its patients and industry specialists has supercharged the efficiency and efficacy of the Barts Health NHS Trust’s ability to serve its 2.5-million catchment area in central and east London.

Operating theatres are running to higher capacity, hospital bed days have been saved and the strands of a unique partnership with Johnson & Johnson are providing a positive drumbeat across all aspects of the patient pathway.

The trust, which functions across three main sites at The Royal London, Whipps Cross and Newham University hospitals, is creating benefit for patients and NHS budgets by using data analytics and frontline expertise to make a series of significant gains for its circa. 9,000-patient operations a year service.

The buy-in across all staff areas has been crucial, which means we can utilise our resources to their best, operate on more patients and get them home faster

“The project has been running for three years now and it has enabled us to improve our turnaround time for patients and improve theatre utilisation,” says Paul Smith, the trust’s orthopaedic implementation manager. But these things do not happen in isolation and improved theatre time needs bed day savings along with all the wider Multi Disciplinary Team work involving therapists’ input and educational literature which plays a part.

“The expertise from JJMDC has been vital, but the buy-in across all staff areas has been crucial, which means we can utilise our resources to their best, operate on more patients and get them home faster.”

The statistics are impressive. The scheme saved 1,804 bed days last year, surpassing its 1,500 target and generated more than 23,000 extra minutes operating theatre time. It boosted surgery procedure time by 10 per cent and assigning a third anaesthetic team to two theatres saw a 20 per cent jump in efficiency.

“It was a significant improvement and it means that more patients who might have otherwise waited longer are now getting treated sooner,” adds Mr Smith.

These improvements were made possible by the Clinical Leadership team across the Trust, the fact that all staff made it happen and the enthusiasm and commitment of the JJMDC team. Enabling all those elements to work cohesively is no mean feat so it is a credit to everyone involved that it has been a success.

“This is a great example of trust between the NHS and industry, with the results being felt by patients and society. The support of JJMDC’s high calibre staff was key in this collaboration.”

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