Part 2 in our series on OR Efficiency.

John-ThumbnailThis is Part 2 in our series on OR Efficiency.

John Lovelace, Senior Vice President, Business Development
July 7, 2016

A few years from now when my house needs a new roof, I will hire a reputable and bonded contractor to tear off the old roof and lay the new one. When I travel to visit customers, I’ll put my trust in the hands of experienced pilots and ground crews.

There’s good reason why I don’t roof my own house or fly my own plane. I rely on others for their specialized skills, experience, and economies of scale—knowledgeable people focused on specific activities that ensure quality and safety, keep costs in check, and know the codes and regulations that must be followed. This practice extends back to the earliest days of trading and bartering, and has become even more vital in our increasingly complex and technical world. Today, more than ever, we rely on specialization to get things done.

Healthcare is no different. In fact, healthcare may be one of our best examples of an industry that can benefit significantly from specialized teams because providing the best patient care requires people with advanced skills working efficiently toward well-defined goals in specific areas of expertise. The need for value in healthcare is unmistakable and the idea of specialization is a powerful driver to this end.

More and more, hospitals and health systems are evaluating outsourcing as they look for solutions to staffing challenges, clinical quality, and cost containment.  Because each department and hospital is unique, the advantages of outsourcing should be considered on a case-by-case basis, and solutions must be tailored accordingly. But, we’ve found that many providers and services share common circumstances for which outsourcing makes sense.

I’ve talked with hundreds of managers looking for improvements in and around their ORs. Most of them struggle to balance the priority of patient-first, high-quality care with the unrelenting daily challenges of staffing, scheduling, and inventory management. Add more overarching concerns to the mix—compliance, quality reporting, and surgeon satisfaction, for instance—and it’s extremely difficult to prioritize and address opportunities for improvement.

Additionally, many hospital executives—focused on the bigger picture of expanding regulations and their bottom line—call for cuts to resources, especially OR resources, where the big numbers in the expense column of their spreadsheets can look like easy targets. To be honest, I can’t blame them. From their perspective, they need to insist on the leanest operation possible. That’s the right call, for sure, but running lean doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality of care. In fact, in many cases, working with a partner for specialized services provides the win-win that results in higher value.

Custom outsourcing models, applied with thoughtful analysis to the most impactful areas, can provide a balance of patient-first clinical quality with a lean and cost-effective approach to OR management. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, adding resources in the right places at the right time can make you more productive with less expense and yield higher reimbursements.

If you’re researching solutions for your OR, you can get some ideas from my recent presentation, In-House v. Contracted Providers in the New World of ACA, which is available on demand. You can also learn more by contacting us at [email protected]. We’d be happy to help you assess your options.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the gate agent just called my boarding group.