The Best Practices for Maintaining High OR Efficiency: A Top 8 List

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Health

As an OR nurse or surgical tech, you know that operating room efficiency directly impacts how smoothly your days run. When turnover lags, the first case runs late; instrumentation seems to vanish, frustration mounts and delays pile up.

Boosting your OR efficiency, though, improves staff and patients’ lives. So, what every day best practices should you focus on to keep your OR operating at peak productivity?

Here are eight simple yet powerful ways that every member of the surgical team should consider:

  1. Help accurately schedule appropriate caseloads that match your nursing team’s and physicians’ skills. Avoid under and overbooking rooms. Overbooking surgical slates leaves staff drained and patients waiting.
  2. Actively trim turnover times between cases through enhanced coordination with anesthesia, housekeeping and others. The faster room turns to mean more cases are completed per day.
  3. Standardize the most common instrument and supply sets to reduce the constant fetching of missing items. This prevents costly surgery delays while supplies are tracked down.
  4. Provide input on technologies like modular boom mounts or large displays that could help surgery workflows. Speaking up with ideas empowers staff and improves OR experiences for everyone.
  5. When possible, batch similar procedures (like orthopedic cases) on the schedule. Consistent case types allow nurses and techs to master efficient workflows.
  6. Help set up parallel processing nooks to allow tasks like suture preparation to happen offstage from active surgeries. Enabling continuous behind-the-scenes preparation is critical for seamless room turns.
  7. Communicate ways you think prep and discharge could run more efficiently to avoid bottlenecks. Poor patients flow into and out of the OR and into the entire department.
  8. Review OR efficiency dashboards to gain insight into department performance metrics and operational wins. Recognition of efficiency gains, both big and small, boosts team morale.

It’s not just technologies that optimize OR efficiency scores, but also team hustle and speaking up with workflow enhancement ideas. When staff help fine-tune the surgical choreography, the ultimate beneficiaries are patients who gain access to life-changing operations faster.

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