Preference Card Standardization

Experts in Preference Card Management

Preference cards are like the DNA of the operating room. When used properly, surgeons’ preference cards provide a logical set of instructions for positioning, as well as what supplies and equipment are required for a specific procedure. Inefficient use of a hospital’s preference card system can lead to more problems than the system was designed to solve – and a glut of preference cards that a surgical scheduler must sift through to schedule a procedure.

Designing Efficient Preference Card Procedures

Surgical Directions provides preference card standardization, pick-list optimization, cleanup and ongoing card management as a standalone service or as part of a larger operational improvement program. Throughout our experience in hospital supply chain management, we’ve worked inside operating rooms that were using preference cards numbering in the tens of thousands. We were able to reduce those numbers to the low thousands, while also reducing prep time, touchpoints and waste.

The most common issues our clients encounter with preference cards include:

  • Out of date
  • Lack of updated process and methodology
  • Incorrect information entered
  • Pick list not tied correctly to the item master file
  • No resources available for process improvement
  • Inadequate preference card training, both initial and ongoing
  • Lack of audit process to ensure compliance

To help an operating room get the most out of its preference card system, Surgical Directions conducts peer-to-peer discussions with surgeons, nurses and managers to understand their challenges and identify areas of potential for structural improvement of preference card procedures. We then conduct a full review of the preference card database as we track usage, returns, redundancies, cost and material waste. After cleansing the database, we go back to personnel and establish accountability through a collaborative discussion, in which we also agree on a go-forward strategy for continual improvement of preference card usage.

After working with Surgical Directions to optimize their preference card systems, hospitals and operating rooms reap the benefits of:

  • Reduced labor costs
  • Less material waste
  • Reduced touchpoints and returns
  • Longer shelf-life for operating items
  • Standardized, high-quality preference card training and orientation guidelines
  • Faster response times to operating procedures for improved turnover time and first case on-time starts

With the help of Surgical Directions, your operating room can transform its preference card system from a liability into a performance-boosting asset.