With healthcare reimbursement increasingly shifting toward value-based models, its becoming more important for hospitals to engage staff in order to improve outcomes and the patient experience.
There is a great emphasis placed on reducing healthcare costs, improving both the patient and provider experience, and creating healthier patients by focusing on population health to improve the overall quality of the nations healthcare system.
To ensure success, its imperative for hospital leaders to pay particularly close attention to the operating room and perioperative services. These services — which include admission, anesthesia, surgery and recovery — account for more than 60 percent of revenue among high performing hospitals.
Below are three tips that are vital to improving perioperative services.
1. Establish collaborative governance
A critical component of ensuring successful perioperative services is establishing a shared governance structure chaired by a multidisciplinary group of leaders. The governing body should be composed of nurse leaders, surgeons, anesthesiology leadership and senior hospital administrators. This leadership body should be tasked with directing all perioperative team activity.
Meetings held by the leadership group should include staff members from anesthesia, nursing and sterile testing and facilitate discussions on pending action items, recaps of the previous day and a review of scheduling.
2. Leverage data analytics for effective scheduling
Scheduling is crucial for success in perioperative services as there are a multitude of moving parts and varying expectations from different members of the care team. Using data analytics to forecast demand and anticipate costs can inform block scheduling in a way that maximizes efficiency and ultimately improves patient outcomes. Data on OR utilization can be used to create heat maps to visualize peak hours and reduce costs associated with under-utilization of ORs, as well as predict admissions to the intensive care unit and efficiently manage beds.
Additionally, this information can be used when communicating the reasoning behind certain block schedules to surgeons and other members of the care team.
3. Improve anesthesia efficiency and reduce case times
As anesthesiology plays a crucial role in successful outcomes and patient satisfaction across surgical specialties, improving efficiency in anesthesia can yield substantial benefits for hospitals and health systems.
It is vitally important to allow anesthesiologists to come together and assemble their own set of protocols they’ve collectively agreed to uphold. Anesthesiologists should also play a significant role in developing an organizations pre-anesthesia patient testing policies, which includes risk management strategies, patient scheduling and creating systems to optimize outcomes among patients with multiple comorbidities.
Other procedural elements shown to successfully reduce case times include ensuring surgeons are in the OR when the patient is first brought in, having physicians assistants set up the OR for complex cases and establishing turnover teams when necessary.
A success in Baltimore
Implementation of the strategies detailed above resulted in measurable success at the Baltimore-area hospital, as well as many other hospitals across the United States. After executing these strategies, the hospital saw OR turnover time decrease by nearly 50 percent and its surgical volume increase by 23 percent. These changes ultimately resulted in $20 million in additional annual revenue.
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