Surgical leaders across the U.S. struggle with common challenges, including how they get timely access to, and use, existing data to better utilize OR blocks and hold surgeons and staff accountable for OR performance, according to the results of a new Hospital IQ survey of U.S. hospital and perioperative leaders regarding their strategic surgical objectives for the coming 12 months. Conducted in January 2018 among senior hospital and perioperative leaders at hospitals and health systems, the survey reveals that better technology tools are needed to enable them to strategically increase both surgical revenue and capacity to optimize one of a hospital’s most lucrative functional areas and leverage resources towards growth.
The survey revealed growing surgical capacity is a key strategic objective of hospital and OR leadership with sixty-five percent of respondents reported increased surgical capacity as their top objective in the coming 12 months. Increasing OR utilization and improving labor productivity were the two next most critical objectives.
Surgical leaders across the U.S. struggle with common challenges, including how they get timely access to, and use, existing data to better utilize OR blocks and hold surgeons and staff accountable for OR performance. At the root of these issues is a lack of sophisticated technology that can provide accurate and transparent data trusted by surgeons and staff.
To meet strategic objectives, hospital leaders will need to invest in better technology and establish a data-driven perioperative culture. Hospital IQ shared four perioperative practices/recommendations to help hospitals improve the operational efficiency of their perioperative services:
1. Develop optimized block and OR schedules that are easier to manage and understand the overall performance.
2. Automate and make more precise the staff planning and assignment process, complementing traditional time and attendance systems, such as Kronos and API.
3 Provide service line leaders the ability to dynamically manage their specialties and grow volume.
4. Use “what-if” modeling to predict and manage the impact of operational changes without costly trial and error.
Other key findings of the survey include:
Low block utilization and high labor costs are pervasive in the perioperative space:
– Seventy-one percent of respondents reported less than 81% surgical block utilization and 32% of respondents estimated $100,000 or more per full time employee is wasted annually in staffing costs due to underutilized OR blocks.
Hospital teams lack the tools to identify opportunities for better OR resource allocation:
– Forty-six percent of respondents reported using Excel spreadsheets to schedule surgical blocks and only 35% reported they consistently have the data needed to make OR staffing changes.
Hospital leaders acknowledge the importance of the right technology tools to help them solve this critical OR staffing challenge:
– Seventy-six percent of respondents indicated they believe better technology is essential to achieve their hospital objectives for the next 12 months, with 63% estimating they will invest an additional 6% or more in operational analytics tools in the next three years.
“In today’s era of shrinking hospital margins, the importance of the OR as a key financial driver for hospitals and health systems is greater than ever before,” said Rich Krueger, CEO, Hospital IQ. “Every hospital and every OR leader is working to increase volume and efficiency – otherwise, a hospital’s mission to provide outstanding patient care will suffer. Trying to manage the OR with manual spreadsheets and trial-and-error experimentation falls well short of the mark. Hospital IQ’s solutions allow perioperative leaders to use the wealth of data at their fingertips, as well as their institutional policies and practices, to better understand and overcome the operational shortcomings that affect their ability to deliver outstanding care, while meeting growth and cost goals.”