In a letter published in the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation newsletter, a physician leader affiliated with a large national anesthesia company suggests five areas that can be standardized in the OR to promote patient safety, patient satisfaction and efficiency.
1. The Preadmission Testing Process. Tailoring PAT preparation to the specific patient and their comorbidities while following a standardized process will reduce costs and complications associated with unnecessary testing.
2. Scheduling. Implementation of a system to double-check equipment and personnel prior to the day of surgery will reduce delays and cancellations.
3. Pain Management. Establishing and teaching multimodal methods to manage perioperative pain can reduce patients exposure to opioids and other addictive drugs.
4. Patient Handoffs. Positive patient outcomes can be increased by having every provider complete a standardized and thorough handoff when transferring the care of the patient.
5. Prioritizing Efficiency and Patient Safety. Creating checklists and other tools to be used by all providers can ensure that all steps related to patient safety are being completed without decreasing the efficiency of the OR.
EHC NOTE: While this list was created by a member of a large national health care organization, the concepts described may be put into effect in operating rooms of all sizes and by anesthesia groups of all sizes. In fact, standardization of both the OR and anesthesia processes is a common opportunity at facilities we visit across the country.