Accurate scheduling of surgical cases is a key component of a highly efficient and profitable operating room (OR). Best practice is for surgical schedulers to use sophisticated software to accurately predict the length of time each surgeon will take for a given procedure. Historical information is used to compile a daily OR schedule that should enable surgeons to schedule cases weeks in advance, and also create blocks of time for add-on or emergency cases. Utilizing poor data or having schedulers “tweak” the schedule based on their own viewpoints or philosophies can often lead to unrealistic expectations for all stakeholders, decreased OR efficiency, surgeon dissatisfaction and significant loss of surgical revenue.
Revenue increase associated with surgical volume expansion is the goal of OR directors in every hospital. However, hospitals must be able to accurately schedule RNs, Surgical Technologists and other support personnel to meet specific service line needs on a daily basis. Collectively, this represents a huge expense for the OR, and mismanagement, or inappropriate scheduling, can lead to large revenue losses even in a busy Operating Room.
The last domino to fall in scheduling accuracy is matching the anesthesia resources needed to efficiently cover all cases. This “elaborate dance” is played out in the huddle the day before, and daily by the OR director and the Anesthesiologist in Charge. It is paramount that hospital leadership understand their own internal capabilities and staffing arrangements before determining their anesthesia coverage. EHC can provide guidance on case scheduling accuracy, review of OR and surgeon block utilization, and alternative anesthesia staffing arrangements designed to meet your specific facility’s needs.
Howard Greenfield, MD