Late Start Times in Operating Rooms (Part 2)

In the first edition of the series, we covered several potential reasons that OR start times get delayed. Nobody likes to wait, and when ORs are consistently lagging behind schedule, it often leads to increases in cost and decreases in revenue.

But, every problem has a solution, And in the second part of this series, we’ll cover these solutions and provide actionable steps on multiple fronts to help your OR start on time and stay on schedule.

Solution:

  1. Identify the need for improvement. Discuss and show statistics/detailed analysis of the delays and the actual cost of delays.
  2. Align objectives of management and staff to create clear/common goals.
  3. Identify the specific causes of delays through discussion with a multidisciplinary team.
  4. Develop specific measures to address each cause with the multidisciplinary team.
  5. Evaluate/document effectiveness of each measure in improving first case start times.
  6. Monitor/adjust for improvement based on the percentage of first cases starting on time.

Process for Multidisciplinary Team:

  1. Take turns sharing what each member believes to be the causes for delays (narrow down to top 10).
  2. Take turns sharing what each member believes to be the measures needed to address delay (narrow down as well).
  3. Enforce, maintain, and document the effectiveness of each measure taken.

Approaches to motivation for improving first case start time:

  • Punitive – loss of allocated block time for surgeons.
  • Meetings/formal presentations to motivate employees.
  • Create task forces dedicated to ensuring on-time starts.
  • Calculate and convey the actual cost of OR delays.
  • Communicate the possibility of adding an extra case at end of the day for the surgeon.
  • Communicate the possibility of finishing earlier at the end of the day to staff.

It’s not just a “nice thing” to have your OR running on schedule. You can benefit from increased OR efficiency and productivity, a reduction of frustration in hospital employees, increased patient satisfaction, cost reductions, higher revenue and long-term sustainability and profitability.

It's a no-brainer. If your OR is lagging behind, be strategic about how you can get things running on schedule! Click To Tweet

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