Although hospitals and other healthcare facilities around the country aren’t quite back to normal yet after the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs that the crisis is winding down. This means hospitals can once again start scheduling elective surgeries since all the resources are no longer being dedicated exclusively to COVID-19 patients.
To facilitate the shift back to a more normal schedule, it will be necessary to increase Operating Room efficiencies. Anytime a major change occurs in the hospital routine, there’s a potential for disruption and inefficiency. With that in mind, here are some ways that can be avoided.
Improving time management
Anytime someone mentions operating room efficiency, time management is generally one of the areas that is immediately considered.
This is natural because any kind of delay in the operating room can quickly develop into costly disruptions to a schedule. Research has shown that it can be beneficial for block times to be adjusted, on the basis of balancing under-utilization and over-utilization. In the past, block times have been based more on the utilization rates for individual surgeons. If a balance can be struck between the two, it will be possible to reduce financial loss from under-utilized operating rooms and increase staff satisfaction by decreasing over-utilization.
It’s a good idea to create time slots where no procedures are scheduled for the operating rooms. This would add a certain amount of flexibility, as well as the possibility of adding cases to blocks that would normally become under-utilized.
Increase efficiency of the back table
In the operating room, much of the activity is centered around the back table, because that’s where all the medical instruments have been laid out. By installing the DinamicOR Back Table solution in each operating room, you’ll gain tremendous efficiencies related to the visibility and retrieval of all medical instruments. It will be possible to standardize the layout of all medical instruments on the back table so that their placement is uniform throughout the hospital. Given that there is a 92 percent visibility rate for all medical instruments with the DinamicOR Back Table Solution, they can be instantly located and retrieved. This alone can be priceless during surgery when time is at a premium. When all tools and devices can be immediately located and retrieved, it can create remarkable efficiency in the operating room, and this can be extended through all ORs in the hospital.
Maintain better communications
Even with all the changes in medical technology, probably the biggest single impact on efficiency is having open communication between all your staff members. This is still one of the best ways to get everyone on the same page and increase efficiency in the OR. You can accomplish this just by holding weekly staff meetings to share important information about issues that come up. You can also recommend that the staff members communicate problems with whatever surgery scheduling platform is being used.
Of equal importance is converting all useful feedback into action that results in greater efficiency in the operating room. The simple act of meeting to address any ideas or issues can give visibility to changes that might be necessary, and it can bring about significant improvements in operating room efficiency.
We can help
In this new normal, where surgical caseloads are only going to increase, it is more important than ever for OR teams to be as efficient as possible. At DinamicOR, we are excited to help our clients increase their OR efficiency and get back to providing the best care possible for their patients. If you would like to learn more about how DinamicOR can help your team, contact us today.