Analytics are the key to unlocking increased potential in your OR!
Undoubtedly you have heard that analytics can help you in the OR. However, you may ask yourself “what are analytics and how do they really help”? In short, analytics is the critical evaluation and measurement of data to provide insight into people, process, and performance. Insights from analytics lend perspective and provide an opportunity for understanding and improvement. So, what does this mean for the OR?
Trusted and consistent analytics are important for improving and maintaining an efficient, positive environment in the operating room. Analytics provide truth and insight into observed processes and habits, such as first case on time starts. We have all heard a claim similar to “we’re always late getting into the room because the patient isn’t ready yet!” Analytics can support or deny such observational claims. Data-based evidence (analytics) is more difficult to dispute than observational opinions. The great news is, you most likely have the best source for data to analyze already! For example, a well-developed EMR system can be used to generate data that allows all sorts of analyses.
One potential benefit of tracking metrics daily is strengthening communication and effective working relationships between operating room team members. Once the expectation is set to chart the reason a patient is delayed, a communication channel is opened. Reviewing the delays routinely allows the events to be fresh in the staffs’ minds, so any issues that arose during that specific incident can be addressed in a timely fashion. Analysis is also essential for determining whether the OR is being utilized to its fullest capacity. Examining practice patterns of the usage of the operating rooms allows leadership to identify and understand where efficiency improvements can occur. Analytic data may also be used to track and maintain consistent surgical teams to create greater satisfaction for both the surgeon and the staff..
So now that you have the analysis, what’s the best practice for handling the information provided? Daily metric tracking should be a transparent act, with the staff and surgeons understanding the metrics, the methodology, and the expectations. Posting metrics in a public area and updating them regularly enables both staff and surgeons to celebrate success when goals are met or address roadblocks. This information can also be used to support arguments on why change is needed, or when habits need to be shifted. A dedicated person or team generating, analyzing, and reviewing data has a significant impact on the performance of the operating room and every area it touches, Believe me. I have the data to prove it!
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