At many hospitals, 10 minutes of operating room time is literally more valuable than an ounce of gold. Yet too often, communication breakdowns delay, disrupt and impede OR workflow efficiency.
For example, until 2015, the nurses, physicians, clinicians and support staff in the OR at UW Medicine’s Valley Medical Center communicated with each other using a complex mix of pagers, legacy phones and whiteboards. This outdated method for coordinating their activities frequently caused delays in pre-op preparation, surgical procedures and post-op care, including room set-up, instrument sterile processing and transport.
In a recent interview in Healthcare IT News Jeremy Wyatt, Manager of Perioperative Services and Sterile Processing at Valley Medical Center, talked about how his hospital resolved this problem by consolidating OR perioperative communications and alarm/alert notifications on the Voalte smartphone system integrated with its Epic Rover EHR app, Connexall middleware and Rauland nurse call system. The hospital in suburban Seattle also put shared Apple® iPhones in the hands of everyone involved in OR activities, including circulating nurses, anesthesia providers and technicians, patient care assistants, transport staff, surgical services technicians, admitting staff and post-anesthesia care unit staff.
By expediting communication and collaboration between caregivers and staff, this solution improved workflow efficiency, reduced OR turnaround times and helped alleviate stress for physicians and nurses caused by communication delays or errors. In Healthcare IT News, Jeremy notes that being able to do more things well in less time has helped the OR:
- Save minutes for each procedure, which translates into savings of tens of millions of dollars since 2015.
- Increase the number of surgeries performed by an average of 200 cases per year.
In addition, since Valley Medical Center implemented this communication solution hospital-wide, HCAHPS scores have improved in every measure except for one – cleanliness of hospital environment (and Environmental Services is the only department not using Connexall and Voalte smartphones).
See the full story in Healthcare IT News to learn more about how Valley Medical Center is using a smartphone platform to save precious time in its OR and to read Jeremy’s advice for implementing new communication technology.