Perioperative Management in the (Post-) COVID-19 Era

OR time, already a limited resource, has become even more difficult to manage due to unrelenting disruptions such as short staffing, OR shutdowns, and patient testing requirements stemming from ongoing COVID-19 variant waves. These disruptions are putting additional strain – and by default, a spotlight – on operational processes that were already suboptimal. But perioperative leaders are still being challenged to manage and even improve efficiency to maintain the hospital’s single biggest source of revenue generation.

Operational bottlenecks and manual processes, which have always tested organizations, are now compounded by ongoing squeezes on OR capacity. Patients, frontline staff, and executives are struggling with block management limitations that delay patient care, impact revenue, and create ongoing frustrations. 

What was formerly a mere inefficiency is now becoming a crisis. New thinking is needed to address why the cycle of underutilization can be tough to break with established block allocation, and how the OR block schedule makes it hard to be flexible and nimble in managing OR time.

Operational Dexterity with Dynamic Block Management

The challenges and solutions to optimal perioperative utilization differ depending on where your organization is on the Resilience-Recovery-Routine spectrum. However, Dynamic Block Management can be used to address each stakeholder’s priorities and pain points – from surgeons to perioperative leaders to OR schedulers.

 

PERIOPERATIVE RESILIENCE PHASE

CHALLENGE:

Perioperative managers face constrained staff capacity and limited OR operating hours.

GOAL:

Leaders are weathering the storm in the face of staff shortages or limited elective cases due to inpatient bed availability by tightly managing how OR time is allocated and minimizing delayed cases.

STRATEGY:

Optimize every minute of OR time to make available time highly productive.

DYNAMIC BLOCK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES:

Proactively reclaim block time with ample lead time to avoid over allocating rooms.

 

PERIOPERATIVE RECOVERY PHASE

CHALLENGE:

Perioperative management faces a growing backlog of delayed cases.

GOAL:

Leaders must build back the business by working through the backlog as quickly and efficiently as possible.

STRATEGY:

Create more white space to prioritize and maximize the backlog cases performed each day.

DYNAMIC BLOCK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES:

Use automated best fit recommendations to develop a strategic approach to reclaim block time and prioritize requests for time.

 

PERIOPERATIVE ROUTINE PHASE

CHALLENGE:

Getting back to normal operations.

GOAL:

Maximize OR utilization, provide surgeons with access, and use all resources (both physical space and human resources) as efficiently as possible.

STRATEGY:

Continue to drive stability across OR teams through ongoing alignment between volume, physical capacity, and staffing capacity.

DYNAMIC BLOCK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES:

Use predictive block release recommendations and right-size block allocation regularly to reclaim block time with a sustained performance excellence approach.

 

Perioperative Management in 2022 and Beyond

We can expect that 2022 will continue to challenge healthcare organizations. However, Hospital IQ helps mitigate these challenges by helping your health system dynamically manage the capacity inside of your perioperative suite. When you know what’s coming with Hospital IQ, hospitals are enabled to optimize how well assets are used every day, strategically allocate time to surgeons, and ensure that they are proactively evaluating staffing plans to manage for variances. These levers remain in place to help your organization navigate disruptive times and shorten a recovery timeline. 

For a deeper discussion on how these complex and multifaceted challenges can be addressed, discuss effective options to be resilient in weathering the storm, review what organized recovery looks like, and show you what the new normal can be when you get back to routine perioperative management, watch the replay of our insightful webinar:

Resilience and Recovery Through Capacity Constraints, Staff Shortages, and Other Perioperative Challenges

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