Improving operating room efficiency: Turnaround time and on time starts

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Emergency Services

Jayme Price
Management Engineer
Hospital Corporation of America (HCA)

In order to grow surgical volume, HCA's operating room directors have placed special emphasis on improving efficiency to increase the satisfaction of their physicians. By working with key physicians and anesthesiologists, the perception of inefficiency is being turned around.

The process of getting a patient in and out of surgery is far more complex than it sounds. Many pieces of the puzzle must be perfectly in place to stay on schedule. It all starts in the morning with the first case of the day. A good or bad start will set the stage for the rest of the day. Labs, consents, H&P's, insurance verification, clarity of staff roles and responsibilities, room setup and patient timeliness are just a few factors that play into getting started on time.

Likewise, quick turnaround requires much more than cleaning a room. An accurate schedule, properly pulled cases, correct preference cards, and clear staff expectations of teamwork are essential to rapid turnaround times.

By focusing on first case on time starts and turnaround time, we have seen improvement both in performance metrics and customer perception.