Part 1 of 3: The benefits of an improved Patient Flow in the Operating Room
Overcrowded emergency rooms. Diverted ambulances. Delayed and overbooked surgeries. These inconveniences have become common scenarios in many hospitals and provider settings across the country.
Challenges like these are taxing hospitals and their resources and negatively impacting patient care.
Are they impacting yours?
In the UK, surgery admissions are up 27% since 2003 and the number of surgeons in training has dropped as medical training facilities struggle to inspire new surgeons.
The ripple effect – and how to avoid it.
Without a solid understanding of your facilities’ peaks and lulls, provisioning for said peaks will be difficult. For instance, if it is common to have more emergency surgeries on a Friday night, then based on the data, you would leave your ORs clear and have additional resources on hand, rather than booking elective or non-critical surgeries for those times. You want to avoid multiple surgeries being bumped or rescheduled again and again.
1. A Streamlined Workflow
You can add more capacity, rooms, staff and ORs, but the underlying inefficiencies likely will exponentially grow.
By taking a step back and gaining a better understanding of your patient flow, you can proactively address the peak periods, most commonly needed services and plan your staffing and shift capacities accordingly. Once you have completed a thorough review, and documented all details of your environment, you are in a perfect position to make the changes needed to optimize your OR workflow.
One strategy to consider is deploying a robust workflow to allow you to get in front of the challenges and refine the way services are delivered, emergencies dealt with and scheduling allows for the known and unknown. This workflow should help you proactively schedule activities and services to prevent bottlenecks at high-volume periods.
You should also look for a workflow solution allowing your providers to indicate their location and availability, allowing admin staff to book them confidently. This also allows the attending nurses and support staff to prepare the rooms and pre/post-op accoutrements in advance.
With more robust technology available that is designed for such an environment, you can improve control over your ORs and its associated services and resources. Being able to schedule pre-op, operation and post-op activities and assign tasks to specific resources, the risk of time lags between services are greatly reduced. As well, the patient experience will be enhanced with a more efficient patient flow and attention to their needs.
2. Having the right resources for the right surgery
While some surgeries are planned, others can have a very short booking time, and that needs to be accommodated in the solution. Moreover, different departments can have unique demands on the OR facilities and resources and need to be prioritized through the use of contextual categories so the patients with the most immediate needs are tended to first.
Robust patient flow solutions can help you route the right skilled providers to the right OR at the right time. This can also ensure the right support teams and associated equipment arrive alongside your surgeons, anesthesiologists and other specialists.
3. Measurable results
With a more efficient scheduling system that provides robust reports and analytics, the OR facilities are used optimally with fewer wasted time slots and resources which enables a much better schedule planning.
Ultimately, you and your team of professionals want to be in control and to have a workflow that supports your unique OR environment.