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7 tips to help optimize perioperative performance

Operating rooms (ORs) are the largest single source of revenue for hospitals. They are also one of the most expensive settings in healthcare. As financial pressures increase, the OR is a prime candidate for optimization.

Here are a few best practices hospitals are using to make the most of their surgical suites:

  1. Set performance goals by service line and surgeon. Hospitals can only improve what they measure. Popular performance metrics include surgeon block utilization, first case on-time starts and scheduling accuracy.
  2. Integrate patient records with the rest of the hospital. Surgical, emergency and inpatient records should be seamlessly integrated into one real-time record of care to ensure optimal care coordination.
  3. Bill for all charges within 24 hours. In a new case study, Trinitas Regional Medical Center shares how it posts charges for procedures within 24 hours, as opposed to a previous manual system that could require up to 30 days.
  4. Match resources to demand. Use dashboards and reports to review OR time and resources, block scheduling and on-time starts to decrease idle time. “With dynamic staffing the OR was able to flex its staff based on the demand,” Trinitas Perioperative Administrative Consultant Gloria Lockett said.
  5. Simulate scenarios before making changes. A better forecasting process can improve OR staff planning . At Trinitas, it resulted in reducing three FTE positions through attrition.
  6. Large hospitals should consider the “micro OR” approach. High-volume surgical hospitals can empower service line leaders to manage allocated blocks of ORs, taking a “business within a business” method. In addition to maximizing block utilization for example, if orthopedics has 10 of the hospital’s 40 ORs, the staffing manager can cultivate a core group of staff dedicated to that expertise, as well as store required equipment and supplies close to the block of rooms to enhance efficiency
  7. Automate preference cards. Preference cards help clinicians prepare in advance for surgical procedures, based on doctors’ specific needs. As new surgeons arrive or suppliers change, it’s important that hospitals have an automated process to keep these cards up to date.

Clearly, data and automation will play a big role in optimizing OR utilization and performance. For all the buzz there is about big data and analytics, it’s equally important that this information is usable and actionable. It is a distinct advantage to have real-time insights for optimal decision making.

To learn more about how Trinitas Regional Medical Center is using Sunrise Surgical Care and Sunrise Surgical Logic, read a new case study.

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