Efforts To Improve O.R. Efficiency Earn National Recognition
Award also recognizes supply chain initiative that decreases costs by $2 million annually
Faced with frustrating scheduling overlap and room requests for the 30 Operating Rooms for inpatients and outpatients at SBUH, Kenneth Rosenfeld, MD, Medical Director of the Operating room at SBUH, reached out to faculty experts in the Stony Brook University College of Business to ask for assistance in coming up with an algorithm that would optimize the allocation of Operating Room time among the hospital’s 15 surgical specialties, based on each unit’s need for OR access and a “benefit factor” for each. He worked with Thomas R. Sexton, PhD, and Herbert F. Lewis, PhD, faculty members in Stony Brook University’s College of Business, experts on productivity and efficiency theory and analysis, and Melissa A. Dolan, MS, Director of Lean in SBUH’s Continuous Quality Improvement Department. Together they developed a mathematical model that determines how much time to allocate to each surgical unit in order to meet each specialty’s needs while maximizing total benefit to the hospital.
“We developed an innovative approach to block scheduling that balanced the institution’s mission to serve the community’s highest priority healthcare needs with the goal of operating as efficiently as possible,” said Dr. Rosenfeld. “We can now assure that the likelihood of completing all scheduled elective surgical cases within the allocated blocks of time is maximized by accounting for past performance and variation.” Dr. Rosenfeld foresees it as just the beginning of collaborative efforts between the hospital and the business school in the future.
The group’s work was supported by the hospital’s Senior Executive Group, which evaluated the benefit of each surgical service, said Carol Gomes, MS, FACHE, CPHQ, Interim Chief Operating Officer. The leadership team took into consideration the hospital’s strategic priorities for providing cancer care, cardiac care, neurosurgical care and women’s and children’s services, she said. They also examined community needs and services that Stony Brook provides exclusively in Suffolk County, such as burn care and pediatric dentistry.
“It was a delicate balancing act to weigh community need, hospital mission and revenue,” Gomes said. “We examined historical usage of the Operating Rooms, and adjustments were made based on the Planning Department’s projections for potential increases in demand in the future.”
In another move to improve efficiency in the Operating Room, a supply chain initiative achieved savings of $2 million annually in expenditures on surgical implants and supplies through a collaboration between team members and surgeons – savings which can be reinvested in new state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to meet patient needs, said Mary Catalano, BS, CASC, Administrative Director for Perioperative Services. A multi-disciplinary Supply Value Team spearheaded the initiative.
The supply chain and OR scheduling initiatives benefit patients by reducing costs and by improving access to surgical services for patients and surgeons, allowing the hospital to increase the number of procedures performed to better meet community demand, Catalano said. The two projects were recognized with the Advisory Board Company’s Excellence in Innovation Award, which was presented to SBUH on Oct. 2 at the Advisory Board’s annual Surgical Profitability Compass National Meeting in Washington D.C.
The Advisory Board Company is a global research, technology, and consulting firm that partners with 150,000 leaders in more than 3,700 organizations across healthcare and higher education nationwide. Headquartered in Washington, DC, it serves more than 3,100 healthcare clients, providing insight and guidance on healthcare issues to more than 140,000 healthcare members.
“Our collaboration with the Advisory Board enables us to network with peers, learn of best practices that we can emulate, gain knowledge of new technology and how it should be applied,” Catalano said. Now Stony Brook’s project is among those best practices being shared by the Advisory Board with other hospitals across the country.
“We are very excited to be honored for our achievements and to receive national recognition from the Advisory Board,” said L. Reuven Pasternak, MD, Vice President for Health Systems and Chief Executive Officer for Stony Brook University Hospital. “This team effort represents the best that academic medical centers have to offer in terms of collaborating and cooperating across institutional boundaries to achieve a fantastic result.”
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