The surgical services leadership team, consisting of the administrator, business manager, service coordinators and revenue integrity coordinator, formed an interdisciplinary team made up of the operating room nurses, surgical techs, and general surgeons at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. Together, both teams met to discuss the preference cards (a tool surgeons use to provide a logical set of instructions for positioning and supplies and equipment for procedures) used for the two most performed cases: gall bladder removal and appendectomy.
Data was obtained for the cases, including the items used in each case and the cost of these items. The project was broken up into two parts: first, attending surgeons and TTUHSC faculty got together with Adonica Dugger and Cassidi Linnenkugel, in the operating room, and their staff to build a card. Second, the same thing was done with residents, but it was made a competition to create their own cards and justify their choices based on cost, patient safety and efficiency. Both were extremely successful!
“We came up with a standard card,” said Dr. Sharmila Dissanaike, Trauma and Burn surgeon. “I think this card standardization will not only reduce cost for these cases, but it’s going to have an overall impact on the operating room by changing the culture to being more financially conservative and reducing unnecessary waste. The patient benefit should be safety by presenting less opportunity for error.”
Once these changes were made and agreed upon, the cards were updated and staff were educated. The estimated annual savings for this project is projected to be over $80,000.
Why does this save money and make the surgical process smoother?
1. Same supplies used no matter which of the acute care team is staffing the case
2. Having the same cards makes it easier for the operating room staff to pull the supplies and set up the case
3. We have standardized supplies with a lower cost, or changing from a disposable to a reusable instrument.
We are SO incredibly proud of some teamwork and collaboration going on in the Operating Room! Your hard work and dedication is leading to major savings in the health system.