Improving Your Arthroscopic Efficiency
Tips and technology to step up a busy schedule.
David Bernard, Senior Associate Editor
Arthroscopies aren't lengthy or complex, but if your facility regularly hosts a full slate of them, staying on schedule is best for the bottom line. You've probably already cross-trained to make sure you always have skilled staff on hand, standardized your procedure packs for economy and convenience, and grouped all your left-side and right-side cases to avoid redundant repositioning. Here's what else some high-volume centers have done to take arthroscopy efficiency to the next level.
Your purchasing decision for video imaging technology often comes down to physician preference. There may be multiple advantages in getting as many specialties as possible on board with the choice.
"If you can, equip your OR with a universal video tower system, not 1 ortho tower and 1 general tower," says Hugh Cornelson, RN, a circulating nurse at Gainesville (Ga.) Surgery Center. This option will let your staff train on and become adept at a single system, he says. "The more simple it is for them to set up, the better for everybody." There are also budgetary benefits to be gained from consolidating into multi-purpose technology.
If you're upgrading your equipment, keep media in mind, too. "Older towers have printers, but newer ones record photos to CDs or thumb drives, or can wirelessly send them," says Mike Pankey, RN, MBA, administrator of the ASC of Spartanburg (S.C.), which will shave time from the process. Make sure you enlist your IT experts to keep networked images secure.
"The first step toward arthroscopy efficiency is having a good staff that knows the equipment in the room," says Chuck Strasser, RN, executive director of Allied Physicians Surgery Center in South Bend, Ind. Having a dedicated video equipment technician stands to make a good staff even better. His center contracts with the tower's manufacturer for an on-site tech who readies cameras and scopes for each case, troubleshoots errors, changes printer paper and ink, cleans and resets components during room turnovers and frees up nurses and techs to focus on patient care.