Making Your Surgical Data Work for You

Making Your Surgical Data Work for You

By Janice Kelly, MS, RN-BC, President, AORN Syntegrity, Inc

Janice Kelly, MS, RN-BC, President, AORN Syntegrity, Inc

In a perfect surgical world, cases start on time, schedules run as planned, and operating room (OR) use is optimized to ensure a steady volume of cases and revenue. Unfortunately, this is often more a dream than reality.

In the real world of perioperative (pre-operative, intraoperative, and post-operative) care, surgical delays, inefficient case scheduling and prolonged OR suite turnover time scan diminish productivity and revenue. Theses inefficiencies can also risk costly medical errors and create provider dissatisfaction.

The advent of electronic documentation in healthcare has given perioperative leaders a wealth of data that can be used to optimize operations. However, interpreting these data in a way that can be identified and acted upon has proved a tremendous challenge that too often leads to frustration and inaction.

Drowning in Data

One reason for this data-use challenge is the sheer quantity of heathcare data collected. Consider that as of 2011, healthcare data reached 150 exabytes—a mere five exabytes of data equal every word ever spoken by mankind, according to research from the Institute for Health Technology Transformation.  

A second reason perioperative data is difficult to understand and act on is the challenge of making correct “apples to apples” comparisons. You have to benchmark your optimal operational state and those of your direct competitors before you can understand where and how you are missing the mark.

Seeing Room for Improvement

Recognizing the power of analytics to optimize perioperative care, perioperative analytics solutions have evolved to give perioperative leaders, business managers and hospital executives the tools to truly see the patterns in their data. With this view, leaders can share the data and leverage it with team members to drive performance improvement.

One such tool is Periop Insight, an analytics solution developed by Syus, Inc. utilizing standardized perioperative content from AORN Syntegrity®. Syntegrity® is a perioperative documentation solution built by perioperative clinicians to help standardize procedure scheduling, perioperative data management, and patient care.

Periop Insight offers several components to help busy perioperative leaders understand their surgical operations data and inspire team action to improve it. First, Periop Insight has an online application accessible from any desktop or mobile electronic device to demonstrate key indicators on how ORs are performing operationally. Some of these key performance indicators include:

• on-time starts,
• turnover time,
• cancellation rates,
• delays,
• supply and implant cost, and
• OR suite utilization.

Users can log into this online tool and filter it for specific data such as a surgeon, surgical specialty such as orthopedics or robotics, or a period of time, to name a few.

Leveraging Your Data

To use data effectively, they must be shared. That’s why Periop Insight offers presentation-ready materials with in-depth analysis to identify trends for suboptimal operations and also recommend which changes could correct issues to improve performance. Providing data analytics in a way that can be easily shared offers a valuable tool to engage in dialogue with surgeons, nurses and other team members in the OR to address change in a way that feels collaborative, not punitive.

A new benchmarking function to be released this summer will give Periop Insight users a chance to compare productivity indicators such as volume and turnover time against direct competitors and also against themselves.

When it comes to using data in actionable ways, transparency is key and analytics tools such as Periop Insight provide this definition to help perioperative leaders running the busiest cost-center in any hospital to understand and use their data to the fullest extent.

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