3 Ideas on Using the OR to Help the Hospital Reach its Long Term Goals

November 3, 2011

By Sabrina Rodak
Becker’s Hospital Review
November 02, 2011

A hospital operating room is an ideal target for many patient safety initiatives and cost-cutting measures because of the complexity of the procedures and the cost of the supplies. Thus, improving the OR can help not only one department but also the hospital as a whole to increase quality, safety and efficiency. The following three responses discuss how best to use a hospital OR to meet the organization’s long-term goals.

Q: How can a hospital OR help the organization meet its long-term goals?

Pamela Booker, MSN, RN, CNOR, Division Chief Nursing Officer, Continental Division, LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn.: A hospital’s long-term goals are based on the community’s needs. Most strive to obtain sustainability in many areas including finance, quality and recruitment and depend on a great reputation to drive these areas. An efficient OR greatly advances these overall goals and contributes to the hospital’s mission — to create an environment where patients want to come for care and physicians/employees want to work. Both patients and top performing surgeons are looking for a hospital with advanced OR techniques and less invasive procedures. A hospital with a vision to assure the landscape of its OR, change with technological innovations and compete with the forces that are distracting from the manner in which surgery has always been done will have the advantage. 

Clark Lagemann, Vice President, Health Options Worldwide: Operating rooms across the country are finding ways to maximize strategies and improve quality of care, but with inadequate staff, poor use of space and improper handling of resources. These are some of the factors that can prevent hospitals’ ORs from delivering efficient, profitable service. Operating staff such as doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, the chief of surgery and sterile process officers should have meetings to share ideas and assess if their mutual goals are met. If one department’s goal is achieved, by virtue everything should follow.

I truly believe that the OR and the procedures/technologies offered could be a large marketing opportunity for hospitals to expand their traditional service area. Many patients are looking for top-notch quality care with the newest treatments, so if a hospital can promote their successes (which many of them do), they will have the ability to pull in additional patients. Consider the launch of the da Vinci robot: At first there were only a few centers across the country with this 1M+ piece of equipment and they were continuously promoting that they were one of the first to have the machine. Now just about every hospital including small community hospitals have a robot so they do not lose out on patients.

Joe Smith, Vice President of Perioperative Strategy, Optum: The OR can contribute significantly to both the financial health of the hospital as well as the achievement of improved quality outcomes. Because of the huge percentage the OR contributes to both costs and revenues, it is an area where properly executed initiatives can have significant impact on the hospital’s financial health. Also, many of the quality measures that hospitals must report on are directly related to the OR, and the same initiatives that affect the bottom line can also significantly improve outcomes at the same time. Few areas of the hospital can affect both of these key measures at the same time.