Today’s surgical program needs to be both efficient and marketable. Balancing the use of expensive resources while making room for program growth can be challenging to say the least. A strong perioperative program requires solid guidelines, reliable data, and steadfast governance.
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “even a one-point improvement in utilization is worth $100K per OR per year.” For hospitals with multiple OR’s, this could account for potentially millions of dollars in revenue.
3 Essential Elements for Improved Operating Room Performance
1. Ample creativity.
Forward-thinking is critical in today’s volatile healthcare climate. Maintaining a competitive edge over other hospitals and competing Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) requires the ability of surgical leaders to generate innovative ideas for tackling operational inefficiencies. The old
standards and principles don’t provide the balance of efficiency (resource stewardship) and marketability (access for growth) required to attract and retain physicians.
Block scheduling is one of the most difficult and controversial tasks in any OR leader’s day.Trying to satisfy surgeons, anesthesiologists, and staff members can seem impossible. Where do surgical leaders begin and how do they foster creativity within the department? Begin with establishing blocks—using data to establish demand for elective cases, First-Come-First-Served
(FC/FS or Open time) for growth, add-ons, and Urgent/Emergent (U/E or Add On time) in the coverage plan. It’s also best to separate out ASC cases when possible. In addition, consider group blocks versus individual. When there is a high number of surgeons that work in competing operating rooms the greater the challenge to find strategic ways that increase your share of the volume.
Make sure there is the right structure to monitor and manage the block schedule because too many blocks that are not fully utilized will block cases from your OR, too few blocks or very high utilization will not allow you to plan out your capacity and grow in the future.
Email Randy to request his OR Manager presentation on, “The Power of Innovative Block Scheduling and Management.”
2. Review best practices.
How often does your hospital complete an internal audit of clinical and operational best practices within the surgical department? This review process provides opportunities for new and fresh practices for planning and administering the surgery schedule.
Consider the following when reviewing current practices:
● Transparent planning of the schedule.
● Estimated durations.
● Releasing blocks.
● Using AI for multi-procedures.
● Case prep and plan-ahead processes for honing for the day of surgery.
● Pre surgical screening processes and testing protocols
● Pushing real-time information to block holders.
Managing a successful perioperative program requires steadfast OR governance, a standard scheduling policy, swing room expectations, and clear performance standards.
3. Key performance indicator (KPI) analysis.
Does your surgical team stay current with emerging technologies and sophisticated analytics? What are the results required to keep the perioperative program on track? Real-time smart metrics pushed automatically to surgeons and surgical staff can improve OR performance. Perioperative management in today’s environment requires a high level of sophistication in order to manage the significant complexities involving surgeon demand, program growth, and costly and limited resources.
From Assessment to Implementation
Does your perioperative program need a data-driven overhaul? Contact our perioperative consulting experts to learn how we can help improve your operational efficiency and patient outcomes.
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.