Access Now: AORN COVID-19 Clinical Support

Archive October 2020 XXI, No. 10

Smart Ways to Save Money

Pinching pennies and saving big dollars can add up to significant profits.

Cherokee Gonzalez

Cherokee Gonzalez, RN, BSN


All photos by Cherokee Gonzalez, RN, BSN
ON THE CLOCK Scheduling software can help you analyze data surrounding your OR usage time — and give you the hard facts you need to make the case to surgeons that changes are needed.

Increasing case volumes is the obvious way to infuse your facility with additional revenue. Looking at ways to improve efficiencies, limit waste and make smart purchasing decisions are also important factors that ultimately contribute to running a fiscally sound facility. Your choices surrounding case scheduling, investments in capital equipment and supply buys must always be made with an eye on the bottom line because reducing expenses is another effective way to pad profits.

Time well spent

Filling out your daily surgical schedule based on estimates of how long procedures last instead of actual case times leads to a cascade of problems, including paying staff to stand around in empty ORs waiting for the next case to start.

The first way to address this issue is to realize that case times shouldn't be defined as the time that elapses between when incisions are made and when they're closed. Patients have to be positioned, prepped and anesthetized before surgery and woken up and moved to recovery afterward. If your historic scheduled case times are recorded using start-to-end times, meaning only the length of the procedure itself, I recommend adding at least 10 minutes to that time to reflect the more accurate in-room/out-room time.

Consider investing in a software package to evaluate your historic case time data and use that information to schedule cases based on how long they typically last, not how long you think they last. Take the additional time to break down the data by procedure and long-term averages. Doing so is helpful if surgeons question the recorded case times and point to an extenuating circumstance with a single procedure. Having procedure-grouped data lets you show that a certain procedure routinely takes longer than the time for which it was scheduled, and helps you make the case for adjusting the surgical schedule to improve overall efficiencies. You couldn't make your case nearly as well if you were still scheduling your cases with a written ledger. There's no substitute for being able to present hard data derived from scheduling software to ensure case times are accurate, and staffing and supply resources are properly allocated.

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

Diversity & Inclusion

Why Representation Matters

Business Advisor: Unlock Hidden Savings in Central Sterile

3 ways your techs can lower your instrument reprocessing costs

The Financial Argument for Patient Warming