The previous blogs were concerned with economic gains for the different parties (surgeon, anesthesia, hospital) by optimizing the relationship each case had with another case (inter-case) — the OR schedule. Each OR is dramatically different, and what works for one won’t work for another. If you don’t have the means of seeing what’s going on, you’ll find it difficult or impossible to achieve your best returns.
In addition to seeing what’s happening between cases (inter-case), attention needs to be paid to what happens during a case (intra-case). This has a dramatic effect on the inter-case schedule. As an extreme example, if every case took only 10 minutes, the OR schedule would be quite short. A opthalmologist doing ECCE & IOLs will have a completely different OR than an orthopod doing hip and knee replacements. Considering just ophthalmologists, some can perform 3 cataract surgeries an hour in one room, or 6 in an hour with flipping rooms, while other ophthalmologists take over an hour for one cataract surgery. Considering orthopods, the surgical approach to replacing a hip, or type and brand of prosthesis, can double the surgical time.
An easy way of comparing and visualizing the effects of techniques, approaches, ancillary help, and individual people will quickly highlight areas that need one’s focus, attention, and possible intervention. If a surgeon repeatedly quickly finishes a facet of a procedure, it’d be worth discovering his technique. If an anesthetist routinely has an unusually short induction time for a procedure, it’d be worth finding out why—either to emulate because it’s a slick technique, or to stop because it’s dangerous. Prolonged times on parts of particular procedures could also be related to post-op complications such as infections. Inter-case scheduling is important, but intra-case analysis can have as much or more profound effect on productivity and risk management.
From the above graph, you would have a good idea of which surgeon has his PA do most of his work, which one does not show up on time to start his case, which room quickly preps the patient for surgery, which anesthetist is on time and does a quick induction. The analysis is limited only by the data you collect.