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GE Healthcare Performance Solutions, a unit of GE Healthcare (NYSE: GE), and Ogden Regional Medical Center, a 239-bed Level II trauma and certified stroke center, announced the successful results of a perioperative services improvement program, implemented to improve surgical capacity at Ogden Regional. The project - which included the strategic analysis of Ogden Regional’s OR scheduling processes using GE’s Block Optimizer software as well as the establishment of new OR governance procedures - resulted in notable growth in surgical cases and increased ease of scheduling procedures.
In 2010, Ogden Regional identified a growing demand for orthopedic, cardiovascular, thoracic, robotic, neurology, and urology surgical procedures in Northern Utah. However, as the hospital was already performing almost 6,500 procedures per year with 89 percent of the surgical schedule blocked, there was little room to accommodate any growth. To meet the needs of its patients, Ogden Regional partnered with GE Healthcare Performance Solutions on a Capacity Management project to analyze surgical services and determine where efficiencies could be increased to add more space and time into schedules. Through the improvements to the scheduling process for surgical procedures, Ogden Regional increased available open OR time from 11 percent to 20 percent. In addition, OR utilization grew 7.7 percent in the first year, and Ogden Regional saw an improvement in on-time starts for surgeries, case duration, and room turnover between procedures, which has removed unnecessary inefficiencies and enabled a six percent increase in procedural volume.
“We have delivered excellent care for more than 60 years. Given that experience, we only had to optimize the great assets that were already in place when local demand for surgical services increased,” said Mark Adams, CEO, Ogden Regional Medical Center. “But, it was not only a matter of changing our scheduling practices; we also had to change the way everyone at our hospital thought about the OR. That’s a huge undertaking, and it couldn’t have happened without strong support from the ground up – the staff and surgeons and their involvement were crucial to its success. As a result, the changes have benefited everyone, from surgeons to nurses and support staff, and most especially, our patients.”
The project included an in-depth analysis of Ogden Regional’s surgical services, utilization patterns, and the individual preferences of every surgeon with privileges at the facility, from which GE and Ogden Regional made fundamental scheduling changes, such as eliminating policies that blocked the schedule and reallocating block time based on all the pertinent data. Ogden Regional leveraged GE’s proprietary Block Optimizer computer modeling software, which incorporated surgeon preferences, historical usage patterns and room-level constraints to design an ideal but realistic new schedule.
Recognizing that no change is sustainable without accountability and full buy-in across the organization, Ogden Regional established a new OR Governance Committee, which incorporated frontline perspectives from all levels of the organization. Committee members hail from each surgical specialty, nursing, anesthesia, and of course administration. This new committee is responsible for creating policies and governing the OR schedule.
“Despite feeling stretched to their limit, many hospitals actually operate below capacity for performing services,” said Jennifer Jefferson, managing principal, clinical operations, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions. “While it is intimidating to consider meeting increased pressure for services, better understanding the root causes of inefficiencies, constructive changes, and organizational structures to support sustainability can lead to significant growth in throughput and overall satisfaction. Ogden Regional is a perfect example of how forward-thinking changes can lead to great outcomes for everyone, from patients to every member of the OR staff.”