Traditional methods for managing the OR often lead to unnecessary conflict between surgeons, nursing, and administration, and poor data analytics is usually a root cause or very close. In the absence of reliable metrics that are verifiable and actionable, staff resort to previous experience, instincts and politics to make decisions.
We meet clients with the assumption that all players in the healthcare ecosystem want what is best for the patient, and that any disagreement among them is less about these fundamental priorities but rather about the best path to realize this vision. With that in mind, accurate data allows us to characterize historical performance while creating a framework of accountability based on data transparency and hospital policies. Decisions are considered in terms of opportunities, rather than based on speculation or edge cases that are memorable but not the norm.
Hospital ORs are especially tricky to manage when surgeons, nursing, and executive leadership all have different incentives. Surgeons in a fee-for-service world want to get in as many cases as possible, nursing wants a smooth and predictable workload throughout the week, and leadership wants to see the economic benefit when both are achieved.
With clear, actionable data, these parties can come together and make operational decisions without some of the acrimony and perceived disrespect associated with major change. For example, a surgeon might be offended if asked to change surgical days from Tuesday to Friday, but with clear data, this request becomes a natural output of routine data investigation. Put another way, the question is presented by the data insights, not an individual. This makes the conversation much more clinical and collaborative. A surgeon may still push back against this change, but it’s no longer taken as a personal crusade against him or her.
By being able to measure the true opportunities from changes to the surgical schedule, hospitals have been able to, for example, offer more flip rooms and weekend services in exchange for surgeons moving cases to later in the week. In this example, we were able to show that despite the lower efficiency from flip rooms, the overall savings to the rest of the hospital is so great, the client would still come out ahead. This negotiation and compromise between clinical and management would not have been possible without a set of data everyone trusts as accurate.
These changes don’t come overnight and require a commitment from hospital and surgical leadership to converge on clear policy and metrics. Hospital IQ can provide the expertise to make sure both sides have access to what’s required at the center of this operational transformation…transparent and verifiable data.