Surgical Preference Cards


By: Ashwin Kulkarni

Published: November 9, 2019

Operating rooms (ORs) are extremely important to hospitals. The OR is often the largest revenue and cost center for the facility. It’s no surprise that surgeries account for 48 percent of a hospital’s revenue even though only 29 percent of hospitalizations required a surgical procedure. A single surgery may require dozens of hours from physicians, nurses and assistants – some or all of whom may be on the hospital payroll.

There are two clear areas of improvement when it comes to improving efficiency within the OR. The first begins with time management; according to research from the Stanford School of Medicine, OR’s report an average tardiness of around 45 minutes for every eight hours. These delays lead to significant cost increases and delayed surgeries, which bring down a surgery’s quality, inflates the price of surgeries and puts a patient’s health at risk.

In addition to improvements in time management, OR organization can go a long way towards improving efficiency. Currently, logistical issues can be a common point of delay that affect both surgery starting times and patient turnover times. Without a detailed, graphical and current surgical preference card “blueprint,” surgeons often find themselves shuffling between the distraction of organizing their OR and actually placing their focus appropriately on the patient.

These two areas of improvement have a common culprit: outdated surgical preference cards. Classical hand-written surgical blueprints or modern EHR-generated list of materials – which document critical instruments, idiosyncratic needs and much more – often are not updated, leading to drastic cost increases and lapses in communication between all parts of the OR staff: nurses, assistants and physicians alike. Simply updating these cards would decrease the average time of costly surgery by minutes while improving the organization so that surgeons can go into the OR knowing that their preferred floorplan, supply table and medicines are present as required.

Here at OR Link, we believe that improving surgical preference cards is a responsibility. We have created the digital surgical preference card to improve staff communication, reduce hospital costs and above all, improve the safety of the patients we serve.

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