Tackling OR turnover time

On December 5, 2011, in Transformational lean, by Suzi Crowe

Turnover time in an operating room is a critical process, and constantly a target for process improvement. The question to be asked for any such initiative, however, is what is ideal and how do we measure it?

The definition of room turnover is the time between wheels out and wheels in to the operating room. This timing is critical in order to ensure that the operating room is utilized to maximum capacity and that the schedule is being managed efficiently.

Recently we began a project to reduce turnover time, which stood at 49 minutes, at a client hospital. The first step was value stream mapping, followed by the creation of swim lanes to identify not only what needed to happen during the transition between patients, but also who would be responsible for these tasks.

We ultimately identified 11 different positions/functions that help to ensure an efficient room turnover. We also identified that the process starts even before the patient is actually wheeled out of the room.

Once the process was mapped out, we identified constraints that impact a successful room turnover. We assigned a person to own their process swim lane and they worked with their peers to identify opportunities for improvements. We then did individual training with each team, as well as delivered a clear message about the roles/responsibilities for each person involved.

We have already seen improvements in room turnover time, and we are now moving forward with communication improvements in order to reduce waste in phone calls. Our goal is to reduce the turnover time to 30 minutes over 6 months – a reduction of 19 minutes. Without having a clear picture of the process and where wasted effort occurs, it would have been difficult to achieve change!

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