Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Healthcare / Procurement

European Healthcare Design 2022

Hospital operational commissioning – ‘the poor relative’

By SALUS User Experience Team 04 Oct 2022 0

This poster looks at ways of improving and developing hospital operational commissioning.


With a significant programme of new hospitals, the UK shouldn’t sleep-walk into repeating operational commissioning mistakes of the past. The technical commissioning of the buildings is often covered well, but the operational commissioning, which involves go-live readiness of staff, has been patchy in the past. New builds and clinical transformation often go hand in hand and adopting a large arrange of changes in one go can result in failures. We have lessons to share – can new technologies provide a wider range of tools to employ this time around?

Methodology: This poster looks at ways of improving and developing hospital operational commissioning, including:

  1. Reset and rethink: The past approach underestimated requirements. We need a refreshed approach, embracing new technology and innovation. The operational commissioning phase needs to be time-protected and should be properly resourced and planned.
  2. Plan ‘with the end in mind: Just as patient discharge starts on admission, planning how staff will work in a new building should begin before the operational commissioning phase. It starts with the development of clinical and functional briefs so staff can identify ways of working and flows. Operational policies are then developed, so that staff understand in advance how the new building will work.
  3. Smarter and more sustainable: Adopt and develop innovation that could improve working/operational commissioning. Training can not only use the important final-step ‘in-situ’ training but could also be supported by technology (eg, virtual reality, flyovers, simulations, online induction/orientation, augmented reality, Holo Lens). This will save excessive travel and time for staff.

The growth of social media has mushroomed since the last wave, so to enhance engagement and communications, this should be embraced rather than relying on historic mediums, ie, paper adverts and posters. What is in the pipeline that we could use in hospital operational commissioning this time? We must push the approach to be even smarter.

Conclusions: Previously, operational commissioning wasn’t given the priory and time it required. The new wave of new hospital projects in the UK provides an opportunity for the NHS and trusts to improve processes, implementation, and the experience of staff and patients as they migrate to the new facilities. However, we need to be mindful that a one-size-fits-all approach may be challenging.

Organisations involved