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Driving Operating Room Optimization From Outside the O.R.

Optimizing operating rooms is a difficult undertaking because there are so many variables involved, including doctors and staff with myriad responsibilities.  

It’s hard to know where to start.  How do you prioritize tasks and which responsibilities take precedence? Does the process have an actively managed and well supported set of steps?  Do all team members fully understand their role and how their role supports and interacts with one another?  

Many organizations begin their optimization journey inside the operating theater and de-prioritize opportunities outside the operating room to increase efficiency.

Where to Start the Optimization Journey?

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop”.

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The greatest opportunity for improvement in Turnaround Time for Operating Rooms is at the beginning of the process.  Frequently, up to 50% of unaccounted for patient experience time can be attributed to Pre-Operation processes.  Many small improvements can be made to ensure success and timeliness inside the operating room, but the greatest leap forward is made between Patient Arrival and Wheels In. Often, each separate person in that process becomes so focused on the completion of the many tasks required of them they lose sight of how the team is providing overall patient experience and the time being used to prep for the surgery.

Building a patient experience-focused process increases perceived service levels, but more importantly, it also increases efficiency. Frequently patients experience as many as four pre-operation interviews from the pre-op nursing staff, CRNA, anesthesiology, and the surgeon.  Often the questions are repetitive and create distress for patients, especially when each of the interviews is spaced out and can give the impression the unit is not communicating. Certain interview questions must be asked multiple times but coordinating the process to ensure patient confidence is essential. And that the coordination of the interview process decreases Patient Arrival to Wheels In even further.

Essential staff need to have a well-organized and robust process to be efficient. Metrics for each role and the overall process must be created and reported on to all staff daily. A management operating system for pre-op processes is essential to delivering optimized results by illuminating opportunity in each role and task. Monitoring, reporting on, and actively managing key metrics of pre-operation processes reduce Patient Arrival to Wheels In Time.


Operating Rooms are complex and complicated places to optimize based on the roles and responsibilities necessary to have successful outcomes. Developing well-coordinated, efficient, and robust pre-operation processes then Actively Managing those process through key indicators as part of a Management Operating System delivers cost-efficient OR optimization and increased patient satisfaction.

To learn more about how Trindent Consulting can assist your healthcare organization to improve the processes inside or outside of your Operating Rooms, click here.