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Annual review 2022; ”We proved that the ‘impossible’ is possible”

Once again, Karolinska University hospital delivered a world-class result. During last year, the hospital got rid of 82 of 88 waiting lists and outpatient numbers increased by 10 percent. 94 percent of patients rated their hospital visit as ’Good’ or ’Very good’. “Once again, our staff proved that the ’impossible’ is possible,” says Björn Zoëga, CEO.
Björn Zoëga bär svart kavaj, vit skjorta och rundade glasögon. Han stå framför huvudentrén till sjukhuset i Huddinge.

For the third year in a row, Karolinska University Hospital delivered more healthcare than specified by the regional mandate, and again ended the year with a budget surplus. Despite high demand and covid-related staff shortfalls at the start and at the end of the year, as well as a record high influx of children with infectious diseases, the hospital managed to meet and to exceed its delivery requirements.

The number of outpatient contacts increased by 10 percent between 2019 and 2022 and there has also been an increase in inpatient care. Simultaneously, the hospital provided care to more patients from other regions and countries than the previous year.

“Karolinska University Hospital is a national and global resource. In the past year, Karolinska actively took on the work of relieving other healthcare providers’ workload. The hospital also introduced a system of receiving digital self-referrals from across the country for outpatient care,” Zoëga says.

During 2022, Karolinska was given a national license to provide highly specialized health care within several new areas, bringing the total of such mandates to 24. The number of outpatient/inpatient episodes provided to other regions and other countries increased by 17 percent compared to 2021. These contacts were also increasingly of a more serious nature, which contributed to a 21 percent increase in turnover from other regions/countries.

“These figures are the result of a conscious commitment to taking responsibility for Sweden’s need to effectively organize the provision of highly special­ized healthcare, and offering more patients access to the hospital’s expertise,” Zoëga says.

At the same time, 94 percent of patients rated their hospital visit as ’Good’ or ’Very good’.

One of the World’s Best Hospitals According to Newsweek

For the third year running, the current-affairs magazine Newsweek included Karolinska in its top ten list of the best hospitals in the world. Newsweek ranked Karolinska eighth in the world and third in Europe.

During the year, Newsweek also identified which hospitals put advanced technology to best use, compiling a new list entitled “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals”. In ninth place, Karolinska was the only hospital outside the US to make the list, with a special nod to the use of artificial intelligence.

“The high rating in this category confirms the hospital’s leading position in data-driven decision making,” Zoëga says.

In the separate ranking of “The World’s Best Specialized Hospitals 2023”, Karolinska University Hospital was named the leading hospital in the Nordic Region within eight of ten categories. Since the last round of rankings, Karolinska has not only held its position as a leading hospital but also made improvements in the areas of cardiology, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, neurology, oncology and orthopedics.

Karolinska is a leader in cardiac care. The hospital does more than 1,000 heart surgeries every year, with the lowest mortality rates from heart surgery of all hospitals in Sweden*. Full year figures for 2022 show a significant decrease in mortality rate; the 30-day mortality from heart surgery was as low as 0.4 percent. That is significantly lower than Cleveland Clinic, which for 30 years in a row has been rated as the best in the US.

The hospital got rid of 82 of 88 waiting lists

Karolinska set an ambitious goal when deciding that in 2022 it would become the first hospital in the country without undue waiting times.

“Being able to provide care at the right time is an important quality indicator,” Zoëga says.

A Director of Production was appointed to ensure full focus from management and across the organization. The importance of using all the hospital’s combined resources has been emphasized, and lead to an elimination of 82 of 88 waiting lists for surgery by the end of 2022. The number of patients who have waited more than 90 days for surgery decreased from 1,680 to 488.

“Cutting the queues down to size had to be done with an eye on sustainability in order to avoid temporary solutions. In the longer term, “Queue-Free Karolinska” will expand even further to include other types of waiting times and lead times – all in pursuit of minimizing unnecessary waiting,” Zoëga says.

Research and Innovation a big part

Research, education and innovation form Karolinska’s tripartite university hospital mission. Working with academia and the private sector enables Karolinska to speed up development and innovation throughout the process, from the idea stage to the implementation of solutions in daily clinical work to benefit patients. Part of Karolinska’s mandate is to educate the healthcare professionals of the future. Today, there are 2,428 active researchers at Karolinska.

A new contract establishing a framework for the collaboration of the Karolinska Institute (KI), the Stockholm Regional Authority, and Karolinska University Hospital in creating a joint bio-bank infrastructure, which is critical to making the Stockholm Region a world-leader in Life Sciences.

Read the entire annual review here

  • Percentage of Stockholm Region care commission: 104.2 percent
  • Number of inpatient episodes: : 85,908
  • Number of outpatient visits: 1,390,519
  • Number of operations: 57,377
  • Ongoing clinical studies: more than 1,500
  • Net income: + 18 million SEK
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