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Archive November 2018 XIX, No. 11

Ideas That Work: Patient Satisfaction

Itinerary Details the Trip From Pre-op to PACU

Rush Oak Park Hospital
TIME MANAGEMENT Don Prokop, RN, BSN, BA, MBA (left), says patients appreciate knowing how long they'll spend in each phase of care.

Hurry up and wait. That’s often how patients view the time spent in your facility, where interactions with staff are followed by periods of laying around waiting for the next flurry of activity. When some of our patients complained about surgical delays, we realized they perceived expected downtime during routine care as time being wasted. That’s when we had a nurse follow a patient from registration to discharge. Incredibly, she noted that members of our team directly cared for patients outside of the OR for only 23 total minutes during the entire 4- to 5-hour stay.


We created an “Outpatient Day of Surgery Schedule,” an itinerary that explains every step of the surgical process, notes how long each step should take to complete and includes variables — OR availability, for example — that could cause unexpected delays. You can download a free PDF at

Each section is color-coded to correspond with the colors of each department in our hospital, so patients know exactly where they are in their journey. Our patient satisfaction scores have jumped significantly since we began handing out the itinerary because patients now understand that our surgical process is in constant motion, even when they’re at a standstill.

Don Prokop, RN, BSN, BA, MBA
Rush Oak Park Hospital
Oak Park, Ill.

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