Improving Operating Room Cycle Time

BY: Adam Tolk CATEGORY: Success Stories

The Opportunity

With 24 OR suites and more than 400 beds, this acute care hospital is named by U.S. News & World Report (2018-2019) among the Top 10 hospitals in California—and among the Top 50 U.S. hospitals. Prior to implementing TAGNOS patient flow solution, the hospital had an average cycle time of 354 minutes per case, which consisted of patient wait times before and after registration, pre-OP process, and PACU/recovery. The hospitals’ processes required clinicians and staff to manually capture patient data, stealing time from other critical responsibilities and impeding real-time collaboration. This “wasted” time came at a hefty cost. Hospital experts estimated a costly $12 per minute of Pre-Op time and $30 per minute of PACU/recovery.

Like so many of its peers across the country, this hospital had to contend with the daily shortcomings of prolonged cycle times that weren’t transparent to staff—while striving to improve the patient experience. With patient volumes and surgeries projected at a continuous incline, patient wait times through each OR sequence would surely get longer, not shorter, if processes continued as-is. Clinical staff, with a myriad of responsibilities, were forced to rely on memory for after-the-fact manual entry of data, creating room for error. When trying to determine the underlying cause of the hospital’s operational inefficiencies, management didn’t have accurate actionable data—they had to rely on opinions or incomplete data.

Key Details

  • Top 10 hospital in California
  • 24 OR Suites with over 400 beds
  • Continuously increasing patient volume
  • Continuously increasing patient volume
  • Average cycle time of 354 mins per case
  • Inefficient manual data capture
  • Inefficient room utilization
  • Decreasing revenues

The Solution

The hospital needed concrete, automated live-data capture to drive accountability, increase transparency and improve productivity. TAGNOS’ patient flow solution was chosen because it offered flexible, robust, and interoperable software that could effortlessly interface with EHRs and other clinical systems and meet the hospital’s specific pain points.  

Within 60 days, the clinical workflow solution was up and running, enabling the hospital to tag all patients with RFID-tracking wristbands that automatically capture data from the time of hospital check-in. The wristbands automatically capture key sequences in the OR workflow and seamlessly communicate with the TAGNOS software platform to provide a live stream of reliable and actionable data. This not only dramatically reduces the need for manual data entry, but also allows the hospital staff to effortlessly collaborate in real-time, saving precious minutes throughout the entirety of patient care. The hospital also opted to include displays for staff and patient’s families. The staff displays show patients’ statuses so the care team can quickly identify bottlenecks or prolonged wait times, and the visitor display lets family members track their loved ones through their care.  

TAGNOS’ patient flow solution records, analyzes, and presents information at every point in the care process. It’s used for real-time data capture, timestamp recording, waste identification, and bottleneck detection to aid decision-makers as they prioritize improvements. 

The Results

Since implementing TAGNOS’ patient flow solution, the hospital has eliminated the need to manually capture timestamps. Cycle times have significantly decreased throughout the various OR sequences. The platform also gives the hospital visibility into the time patients spend within each sequence, which it can now use for process improvement efforts related to operational workflows and patient experiences.  

The statistics tell the story. In the course of 13 months, the hospital saw a 12.7% reduction in its overall cycle time — saving an average of 40 minutes from each case and over $1.6M per year — more than 11x the hospital’s investment. The hospital plans to use this cycle time reduction to increase its service capacity and continue to improve operational and clinical efficiency.  

12.7%

Overall Cycle Time
Reduction

40m

Average Time Saved from Each Case

$1.6M

Annual Savings per Year

For the hospital workforce, the use of TAGNOS’ Smart Interoperable technology increases the time they are able to spend at patients’ bedside, which can improve job satisfaction. The care team is able to focus on patient needs and care compliance — rather than wasting time manually inputting patient information.  

Reduced wait and improved patient flow can also translate to better quality care experiences for patients. As competition for patients continues to increase among healthcare providers, TAGNOS provides a differentiator that puts patient and hospital needs at the forefront of care. 

About the Author

Adam Tolk

Implementing repeatable and scalable results

For over two decades, Adam has cultivated his leadership and sales acumen by successfully guiding teams to great heights as a Naval Officer, Healthcare executive, and as the CEO of a technology (SaaS) startup. Adam helms TAGNOS’ commercial activities, channeling his relentless passion into realizing the company’s messaging, vision and revenue activities. By leveraging his diverse background, Adam quickly assesses and implements creative ideas to illuminate our core messaging, accelerate the sales cycle, and launch the TAGNOS ‘Re-Imagined’ campaign. When he’s not building partnerships and leading our sales and marketing endeavors, Adam can be found outdoors with his family and dog enjoying SoCal’s, ‘Best weather in the world’!

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