Optimizing Surgical Resources for Increased Operating Room Performance

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 ORs, 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 (ASCs) requires 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, first come/first serve (FC/FS), add-on, and urgent/emergent (U/E) cases in the coverage plan. It’s also best to separate out ASC cases when possible. In addition, consider group blocks versus individual. When there many surgeons working in competing ORs, it becomes more challenging to find strategic ways to increase your share of the volume.

Make sure that there is the right structure to monitor and manage the block schedule. Blocks that are not fully utilized will block cases from your OR, and 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 titled “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 cas durations

● Releasing blocks

● Using AI for multi-procedures

● Case prep and plan-ahead processes for honing on the day of surgery

● Presurgical 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.

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