Hospital Efficiency Takes Flight

Modern hospitals and airports have many things in common: 1) both hinge on moving individuals through a complex organization thousands of times per week; 2) both are places where we don’t want to spend our extra time and 3) both revolve around intricately planned systems – either flights or operations – that, unfortunately, tend to run behind schedule. In other words, they are all about efficiency… or the lack thereof. However in the health care world, we think its time for some new ideas to take off.

In hospitals, the economic impact of these inefficiencies is significant:  one fully staffed operating room can cost a hospital up to $300 per minute. Therefore if one surgical team is left waiting one hour per day, it can cost the hospital over $6.5 million per year in wasted resources.  Multiply that number by how many delays happen in every hospital operating room across the world and you can see how this loss of productivity can easily reach into the billions of dollars.

Surgery is the fastest growing and most resource-intensive area of the hospital. On average, the sur­gical environment accounts for more than 60 percent of a hospital’s total revenue each year while only 20 percent of the employees work in this department. Yet historically, managing the operating room — from a case, resource, and information system perspective — has been fragmented, decentralized and frankly old-fashioned à la analog whiteboards. This has led to tremendous inefficiencies, redundancies, and performance bottlenecks.

Improving the hospital perioperative environment is no small task but for today’s hospitals to remain competitive and financially viable, it is essential that this environment be managed in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner than it has been in the past. Since the OR is the most complex department in any hospital, the management’s res­ponsibilities cover a diverse group of different functions and capabilities, including scheduling patients and doctors; improving operating room and employee utilization; making changes in “real time” as cases are cancelled, added or modified and much more. Controlling, synchroni­zing, and optimizing the various aspects of this service are, to say the least, a challenging task.

Surgery Logistics provides real-time case and administrative information that doctors and managers need to make on-the-spot decisions, as well as delivering the reporting and data analysis tools required to extract meaningful information required for strategic decision making. It streamlines the communication of real time information by centralizing the changes to the case schedule for the OR managerial staff and allowing the other OR staff to “time stamp” the progress of the patients throughout the OR process from admission through their post operative care.

At SXSW InteractiveRobert Fabricant, VP of Creative for frog design, discussed “augmented mindfullness” in his Designing for Awareness panel and how this new field of user experience design records users’ behavior, processes it and reports it back to inform, adapt and perhaps improve the behavior patterns of the user or group in an intelligent manner. In our perioperative application, this philosophy lays the groundwork for the ultimate project goals of our clients.

While the overall purpose of Surgery Logistics is to help reduce hospital costs, increase efficiency, and improve quality of care, the key is to manage and integrate the entire perioperative environ­ment (from patient admission and registration through post-anesthesia care) into one management system.  And with the advent of this new application, we expect to see future hospital efficiency truly soar to new heights.