Health IT Is Needed To Drive Operating Room Efficiency

Hospital Executives agree, Health Information Technology is a critical component for operating room staff to better manage increasing surgical case volume, to lower the cost per patient served, and to drive successful outcomes. This declaration comes from a survey conducted by independent research organization Penn Shoen Berland among 142 hospital executives including CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CNOs.

Aging populations with increasing needs for surgical procedures, as well as a general population with more access to healthcare are the primary reasons case volume across US operating rooms has steadily increased over the past several years. Assessing the state of operating room (OR) volume today and in the future:

  • 49% of respondents report that OR case volume has increased in the past year
  • 73% expect OR case volume to increase over the next 3 years
  • 39% seeing an increase for inpatient cases and 91% anticipating an increase in outpatient cases

In order to meet increasing demand with the resources they have today, more than 79% of decision-makers agree that Health IT solutions tailored to the way ORs work will drive success inside the OR. The executives go further to say that the top 4 strategies to help reduce escalating OR costs are:

  • Increasing OR efficiency and patient throughput (73%)
  • More closely managing overall workflow (57%)
  • Cutting spending on supplies (52%)
  • Reducing overtime (35%)

The top 3 perioperative IT capabilities executives want for OR management are:

  • Scheduling (20%)
  • Seamless integration between departments and systems (16%)
  • Information capabilities such as data storage/audit trail; real-time data; EHR (12%)

Finally, 76% of executives say that “scheduling the OR is inherently different from scheduling other services in the hospital. And, therefore requires a uniquely tailored process and IT solution.”

Clearly, these executives see perioperative IT solutions as having tremendous potential to help control costs while delivering efficiencies that can help hospitals meet the demands of rising surgical volumes. Prior to the introduction of the OPTIMI$ER Surgical Workflow Technology Suite, there have been no orchestration overlay solutions that streamline and guide care givers through the 100-200 steps necessary to get each patient to surgery. Because OPTIMI$ER increases the efficiency of handoffs, and increases the communication between people and systems, it can greatly enhance the functionality of legacy IT and processes that are currently in place. OPTIMI$ER is the game-changer:

  • OPTIMI$ER interfaces with most legacy systems and will provide mechanisms that enable the automated “pull” and “push” of data with those systems in such a way that workflows are enhanced.
  • OPTIMI$ER will guide caregivers through all the tasks and information exchanges necessary to get a surgical patient from first appointment to first incision, seamlessly and safely.
  • OPTIMI$ER was designed with the perioperative care giver in mind – it is not an off the shelf process management system.

If your hospital or surgical group practice sees a similar demand for ORs on the horizon and you question whether or not your current IT configuration will drive operating room efficiency necessary to meet increasing demand, please contact Vicki Harrison at

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