Tackling Turnover Time in the Operating Room

Turnover rates remain one of the top challenges for OR Managers and a top dissatisfier for surgeons. Implementation of a comprehensive turnover time program is critical to the success of the perioperative department and requires an in-depth understanding of industry standards. While the perioperative department is the highest cost center for most hospitals, it is also the department with the highest margin potential.

Measuring Operating Room Efficiency

Turnover is a nationally recognized KPI for measuring OR efficiency. Ignoring turnover times is a high risk for OR management. What is your healthcare organization doing to be recognized as successful in managing turnover times? Is there a comprehensive program in place for minimizing turnover time?

Delays in turning over the OR negatively impact both patients and surgical staff. Inefficient use of the OR can have a domino effect—creating a greater risk to the patient. Not only can delayed turnover impact patient outcomes and satisfaction, but delays can also extend work hours for surgeons and staff creating lower job satisfaction.

How much does a department gain for improving turnover time in balance to the time invested? Analysis of time gained with improved turnover rates is the best indicator of success. Reducing turnover time increases the potential for additional cases and cost savings.

4 Elements of a Comprehensive Turnover Program

All successful OR turnover programs excel at executing four elements in the perioperative environment:

  1. Patient safety

  2. Patient satisfaction

  3. Attention to patient flow

  4. Instrument preparation

Every OR Manager should have standardized processes in place to help ensure both safe and timely patient care with clear expectations of the perioperative team. Set goals must also be enforced and communicated to the entire department. In addition, the time required of the Sterile Processing Department (SPD) to meticulously clean, inspect, assemble, package, and sterilize surgical instruments should be considered when scheduling patients.

Surgeon View of Turnover Time

Active management of surgical team turnover time is an opportunity to improve OR efficiency, patient care, and surgeon and surgical staff satisfaction. Manage turnover time beyond just the best processes to effect surgeon perceptions. Is the turnover program really minimizing the impact of the 45 minutes or more wait times? Consider introducing the “turnover recovery program” similar to service (patient) recovery programs to improve surgeon perception of turnover.

Perioperative Consulting & Implementation to Reduce Turnover Time

Sullivan perioperative experts provide hospitals and health systems with comprehensive perioperative program assessments, recommendations, and implementation support that result in improved operational efficiency and increased income.

To learn more about our perioperative services and how Sullivan can help improve your organization’s turnover time, contact us today.

Randy Heiser is the President of Sullivan Healthcare Consulting. Randy has been a hospital consultant since 1983 and has specialized in perioperative consulting since 1992. He has directed more than 500 surgery department operational improvement studies (and participated in an additional 350) in programs ranging from small community hospitals and freestanding surgery centers to some of the largest university hospitals in the U.S. He was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of the Surgery Benchmark Program that has been used by more than 280 hospitals. He has also participated in the design of several proprietary surgery scheduling information systems currently available in North America.

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