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Compirion and Anderson Surgery Center Reduce OR Inefficiencies and Improve Finances
Date:8/3/2009

eadiness by obtaining all workups, test results and medical clearances ahead of time. Physicians who continued to be chronically late had their blocks canceled. By the 13th week from the project launch date, on-time starts (within a 5-minute grace period) had risen to 75%, and cancellations had dropped by 13%. The Anderson Surgery Center was recovering about $25,000 per month in lost revenue.

A new scheduling policy was instituted that allowed physicians to schedule smaller blocks, increasing the availability of room time. "Flipping" cases between rooms was encouraged, a privilege previously allowed only to in-house physicians. Now surgeons from outside the hospital could improve their productivity and billable hours. Block utilization started to climb.

The increase in efficiency created a domino effect of other issues that needed to be overcome. Case clustering became the first issue to surface. The surgeons were taking advantage of the improved productivity and scheduling more cases of a similar type within their blocks. The second issue was the rise in demand for certain types of instrument trays. That triggered heavy flash loads and a higher risk of infection. In response, the Sterile Processing Team, driven by Perioperative Services Director Kim Perry, began working with physicians to improve case mix while Anderson hospital administration invested more than $50,000 in the purchase of new equipment for gynecology, orthopedic and general surgery, plus in multiple miscellaneous specialty instruments. An instrument Quality Assurance program was put into place. Trays were marked for repair or refurbishment, and for next year, the hospital committed to more scheduled upgrades and the purchase of EndoTowers. Repairs are now done in the Sterile Processing Department. By the end of the project, the flash load metric was hovering around zero.

As a direct result of the flashing assessment, a flow problem was
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