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Perioperative Services: Instruments of change

Periop services

Perioperative Services has undergone significant changes in the past 12 months. Alterations to its physical and organizational structure resulted in an increase in OR cases that exceeds budgeted targets by more than 200 to date this fiscal year.

These same changes, which involved input from OR, Sterile Processing, Materials Processing, Anesthesiology and several surgical specialties, also led to greater efficiencies in these departments as well as to improved patient and staff satisfaction.

Here are just a few examples of how Periop achieved this success:

  • Three kaizens ushered in new strategies to reduce patient wait times that involved cross-training staff in Pre-Surgical Screening and streamlining registration process.
  • Environmental Services helped decrease room turnover times by 15 minutes. 
  • The Sterile Processing Department improved case cart accuracy to 99.3 percent and decreased flash sterilization rates by 20 percent.

The patient never sees much of what happens, but to achieve these results the behind-the-scenes efforts at Highland are critical.

“Whenever a patient is here something is happening with their case,” says Medical Director of Perioperative Services Alan Curle, M.D. “We always want the patient to feel as if everything is moving forward safely and efficiently.”

Senior Program Administrator of Perioperative Services Raoul Chazaro says there needs to be constant preparation and more communication. Daily huddles with principals  from every department involved in a surgical case helps resolve immediate issues, as attendees explain problems while colleagues freely offer suggestions or possible solutions.

“These huddles are a fantastic way to get resolution or at least start down a pathway toward it,” says Jerry Simeone, Supply Chain Manager, who helped straighten out a labeling issue in MPD that would have affected both SPD and the OR.

“We keep working together and communicating.”

Open communication and newly defined expectations have enabled staff to see how each department’s responsibilities are directly related to each other’s success.

“With more instruments and technology we not only keep on top of our daily work but also are able to focus on preparing instrumentation carts for the next day,” says Carmen Hunter, who has worked in SPD for 13 years. “We just have become more efficient. These changes have made the job more rewarding because it’s so much about the bigger picture and how we contribute.”

Group effort drives results 

  • The OR improved first-case on-time starts by nearly 25 percent.
  • Creation of “parking lot” – a “never-say-no” scheduling strategy – resulted in more providers returning to use the hospital’s OR services.
  • SPD puts together, on average, 250 to 350 trays per day for use in the OR.
  • Instrumentation increased 35 percent, which included investment in hundreds of pieces of equipment and the addition of new technology such as bar-code scanning on instruments.