Only a year has passed since Jack Sariego, MD, MBA, FACS, CPE, took on the role of vice president for Perioperative Services at Pennsylvania Hospital, but it’s been a busy year characterized by quality improvements and enhanced operational efficiency — from introducing quarterly staff engagement surveys and town halls, to creating a new instrument reconciliation process to reduce daily tray turnovers.

While the Periop service areas continue to develop new initiatives to ensure the best experience for patients and staff alike, Sariego and Megan Sanders, business manager for Perioperative Services, point to three recent updates that illustrate the team’s commitment to driving innovative change.

An Advanced Leadership Structure

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The overarching innovative change that Periop has introduced is a new leadership structure that mirrors the hospital’s executive leadership team. This multidisciplinary team includes Sariego and Sanders, as well as the clinical directors, informatics coordinator, and performance improvement advisor. That wasn’t just a simple departmental reorganization, but an “evolutionary, if not revolutionary change,” Sariego said. “We’ve set up a structure that never existed in our department, and now we’re truly like a think tank where everyone has a seat and a vote at the table.” The presence of both clinical and non-clinical leaders ensures that a variety of perspectives are considered when it comes to business and operational issues and departmental strategies.

Better Staff Utilization and Productivity

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Last year, Sanders was challenged to develop a scorecard that combines room utilization, case complexity, and various factors related to staffing (call-outs, breaks, overtime, etc.) into a formula to provide a daily report that monitors and predicts staff productivity. The formula has proven so reliable that at any given time, staff and leadership know exactly how many people are needed in order to meet the caseload.

“Looking at this score daily allows us to be nimble enough to add people or give them an extra day off depending on how we stack up to our targets. We’re even starting to look into self-scheduling, which could be really beneficial for staff engagement,” she said. This scorecard system will be presented at the 2020 OR Business Management Conference in January.

Complete Transparency Around Efficiency and Expenses

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As a result of the productivity scorecard’s success among the OR, endoscopy, and ambulatory surgical teams, a labor scorecard was also developed to translate that measure of productivity back into dollars. The card illustrates how staff fluctuations and productivity scores impact labor expenses. This month-to-month and year-to-date data is presented to the executive leadership team each month, and it is always available for staff to look over, the goal being complete transparency.

“It’s all about having the right labor for the given complexity and the given volume of cases. As our productivity score reaches the ideal target, we can clearly see in concrete terms that the revenue generation increases as well,” Sariego said. “This scorecard shows how quality, value, patient safety, and employee engagement all converge.”

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