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Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and physician-owned hospitals are still feeling the added pressure of the huge influx of patients who have been pushed out to them by hospitals due to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, this means these smaller facilities are now experiencing the same kind of pressures that hospitals face with too many patients and too few staff members. It has become urgent that these ASCs and physician-owned hospitals streamline their operating room procedures, to meet the new demands for efficiency and high-quality care in the OR.

With that goal in mind, here are four things we see that can greatly streamline efficiencies while helping improve patient care:

Focus on capacity utilization 

Making the most of capacity utilization will require a full-blown study at your facility in which you monitor turnover time, anesthesiology costs, RN staffing, and room utilization for every time of day during the week. Your study should include block utilization and observations on how all rooms are being used and staffed. You should track the duration of all cases by the surgeon, and analyze ways that support can be provided. Your study should also include tracking every touchpoint of a patient from arrival to inpatient transfer. The areas to focus on relative to capacity are decreasing the scheduling gap between cases and consolidating operating room usage. By filling in schedule gaps, you can maximize the use of labor and probably save money on anesthesia costs as well.

Improve your back table system 

You will gain a quantifiable increase in efficiency for all procedures conducted in the OR when you have the DinamicOR Back Table Solution implemented in each of your operating rooms. This advanced back table system provides visibility to 92 percent of all surgical tools and implements, meaning they can be retrieved very quickly and efficiently. The table itself is customizable and comes with a heavy-duty drape that protects valuable surgical devices and the DinamicOR+ Workflow Management App that ensures consistent setup. When the DinamicOR Back Table Solution is implemented throughout all ORs in a facility, it makes for a repeatable procedure that all personnel can quickly familiarize themselves with. In turn, this leads to greater efficiency and a better understanding of procedures for all related personnel.

Use lean management 

Every minute that gets wasted in the OR degrades efficiency and quality, as well as financial well-being. Your OR would benefit greatly from the use of lean methodologies, which seek to discover issues early in any process before they have a chance to impact later stages. Some examples might be:

  • implementing a management system to foster team engagement
  • conduct organization events to ensure optimal storage of large equipment and case carts
  • scheduling improvement workshops for waste reduction in labs, scheduling, turnover time, and sterile processing.

Work with support surgeons 

All surgeons have their own habits in the OR, and it’s a good idea to map their activities so their needs can be better understood. This can help identify where more resources or more support may be required, whether that’s in the form of staffing, time, or supplies. Streamlined communications should be made available through medical and telephonic evaluations so that administrative burdens can be relieved. Including surgeons in the streamlining process can be highly beneficial, so they can trust the results and buy into them more fully.