Six Sigma In Operating Room

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Despite such advances, challenges remain to ensure patient safety, reduce expenses and streamline workflow. The average operating room runs at only 68% capacity, according to a recent study from the Healthcare Financial Association (HFMA) and the Heath Care Advisory Board. It indicated that improvements targeting even one procedure per day per operating room (OR) suite could translate to an additional $4 million to $7 million in annual revenue for the average-sized organization.

Applying Six Sigma in Operating Room
For improving quality, throughput and the bottom line in the operating room, numerous hospitals and health systems are finding that Six Sigma is a useful tool for improving quality. The Six Sigma projects have targeted
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The Healthcare Financial Management Association has provided some examples of the core operating room performance indicators which included- In-patient workload, Out-patient workload, Cancellation rates on day of surgery, Turnover time in-patient and out-patient, Surgeon satisfaction, Employee satisfaction, cost per case (for labor, materials, total) and gross revenue per case.

If the first case starts late even by 30 minutes or 1 hour, it not only disrupts the schedule for subsequent surgeries that day, but it also may impact patients the physician scheduled for office visits later in the day. The surgery can be delayed or postposed if the required test results are not received on time. These factors add on to become bottlenecks and they can decrease the chance for getting patients in and out of the operating room on time. It is important to examine every opportunity for increasing efficiency and achieving sustainable development, as part of the improvement process. Valid data must be collected and analyzed using rigorous statistical tools, instead of making assumptions regarding possible causes for bottlenecks or errors. Strategies like- Six Sigma and Lean have been effective in this regard yielding significant cost and quality
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Defining and Measuring
One of the typical activities during the initial Define and Measure phases of the project, is to gather voice of the customer (VOC) data by surveying. In this setting, the customer may be any stakeholder relevant to the project, including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, patients, technicians, support staff and administrators. The survey questions are usually based on Lichert scale, covering areas that are working well and those that could be improved. The gathered data drives the analysis and focus areas for the project.

The creation of a process map and sub-process map helps the team define the current process and understand all the steps or touch-points along the way. For accommodating such trends, the Operating Room has evolved into a series of care areas. Throughput data is collected and analyzed to understand timing and areas of variation. This analysis is a key in finding and addressing root causes, and allows the project team to trace every step in the process and discover where there are opportunities for

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