Anesthesiologists as 'Air Traffic Controllers of the OR'

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , April 24, 2014

Same-day surgery cancellations also rack up hospital costs. A 2012 study from Tulane University Medical Center found that 6.7% of scheduled surgeries were cancelled on the same day in 2009, at a cost of $1 million. The cancellations were not exclusively due an excessive number of tests, but subsequent studies came to a similar, broad conclusion that most cancellations were preventable.

"The new coordinator of care is the anesthesiologist," says Blomberg. "We are the air traffic controllers of the OR."

The new processes in place at Memorial Regional have not yet been put to the patient satisfaction test; however, Blomberg says the hospital has been able to reduce same-day cancellations from 8% to 4% in just one year.

Memorial Regional performs 10,500 surgeries annually, which means, in real numbers, 420 fewer patients were inconvenienced by having to return home after fasting, mentally preparing for surgery, and taking time off of work for a surgery that got cancelled. That's a lot of HCAHPS surveys.

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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