Tips to Improve Efficiency in Your Anesthesia Department

A strong, well-functioning anesthesia program can make or break the efficiency of your ORs. When your anesthesia department is efficient, ORs run on time and quality metrics are more easily achievable, contributing to your hospital’s overall operational and financial success. Evidence-based principles within the anesthesia program will promote patient satisfaction, throughput and safety. Here, we will discuss our top suggestions for improving efficiency in your anesthesia department. 

Standardize Screening Processes for Maximum Anesthesia Program Efficiency

The pre-anesthesia evaluation is collected via a patient interview. In addition to conducting an appropriate physical examination, it involves reviewing objective diagnostic data and medical records, assigning an ASA physical status, documenting the anesthetic plan, documenting informed consent of the anesthetic plan and administering appropriate premedication and prophylactic antibiotics. This process must be standardized for maximum efficiency, which usually involves integrating into an EMR system. 

Appropriate Staff Training & the Subtlety of a Structured Patient Handoff

Benefits abound when surgical teams are in sync and running at peak performance levels. For this reason, CCI Anesthesia always supports the anesthesia department’s participation in medical team training, whether technical or non-technical. Additionally, it has always been our experience that it is worthwhile for surgical teams to periodically engage in team-building exercises that focus on improving communication. Clear communication is the foundation of a structured patient handoff that promotes expediency and safety. 

Establish Block Scheduling and Estimate OR Duration

Since overestimating or underestimating the amount of time a case may take can wreak havoc on the entire perioperative care continuum and result in costly budget overages or missed revenue opportunities, predicting surgical case durations is important. Since CCI Anesthesia captures valuable data points that are always openly accessible to our partners, we can help make these predictions. Establishing block scheduling informed by data is a surefire way to improve efficiency.

Streamline Clinical Documentation

Streamlining clinical documentation into a high-powered EMR system allows for the analysis of detailed clinical information, such as the usage of drugs and agents, order sets and equipment used. This information can be incredibly valuable in eliminating waste, increasing operating room turnover and enhancing other efficiencies. Implementing an Anesthesia Information Management system (AIMS) makes analyzing anesthesia data accessible and allows other departments to make more informed decisions.

Improve Communication in the Operating Room

Improving communication results in decreased mistakes, enhanced patient safety and increased efficiency. Promoting a team-based approach to every case supports better communication. It allows anesthesia providers to regularly coordinate with nursing and administrative staff to ensure everyone is on the same page. We also encourage team huddles and time-outs before each case rather than wasting precious time after the first incision to discuss plans. 

Train and Create Strong Perioperative Leadership

We see tremendous value in strong perioperative leadership that we offer interim OR director staffing to ensure seamless perioperative leadership transitions. Promoting a spirit of teamwork and supporting high morale is impossible without strong leadership, and refinements in the perioperative ecosystem can result in sizeable payoffs.  We see our anesthesia providers as essential perioperative leaders, so we train them to support surgeon satisfaction, patient satisfaction and better clinical outcomes. We encourage them to participate on committees and to take on responsibilities for improvement efforts. Ultimately, anesthesia providers are critical in supporting perioperative leadership and must be up to the task.

If you’re ready to make noticeable improvements to your anesthesia department that will benefit your entire perioperative continuum, call us today to discuss strategies for improving efficiency at 800-494-3948.