Survey Finds Hospital Execs Are Turning To Health IT To Improve OR

Posted on by Frank J. Rosello

Health information technology is etching a name for itself in hospital operating rooms nationwide, according to a new survey’s findings published on Thursday, August 2nd.

The survey, sanctioned by the Alpharetta, Ga.-based Surgical Information Systems (SIS) and conducted by the independent polling organization, Penn Shoen Berland, indicated that as operating room (OR) caseloads and costs continue to rise over the next three years, the majority of hospital executives are looking to health information technology to increase efficiency, manage workflow and drive successful outcomes in the OR.
  
The report noted that the health IT priorities of hospital executives include facilitating improvements in OR efficiency, the quality of patient care and the reduction of documentation errors.

The survey includes responses from 142 hospital decision-makers, including CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, CNOs, CMIOs and other senior executives.

OR case volume continues upward trend
More than 49 percent report that their OR case volume has increased over the past year, while nearly 73 percent anticipate their OR case volume increasing over the next three years.

While 39 percent see their inpatient OR case volume growing over the next three years, 91 percent see their outpatient OR case volume growing during that same period.

Solutions to the OR caseload crisis
At the same time, these hospital decision-makers believe that increasing OR efficiency and throughput (73 percent), more closely managing overall workflow (57 percent), cutting spending on supplies (52 percent), and reducing overtime (35 percent) are all strategies that can reduce hospital costs.

More than 79 percent of hospital decision-makers agree that information technology solutions are will effectuate success inside the OR.

An overwhelming 96 percent agree that IT is instrumental in recruiting outstanding doctors and nurses (57 percent say it is very important, while 39 percent say it is somewhat important).

The capabilities hospital senior executives look for in perioperative IT solutions
The top choices were scheduling at 20 percent, while 16 percent indicated that seamless integration between systems and departments was the priority; 12 percent surveyed are looking for information capabilities, including data storage, real-time data and EMRs.
 
“The OR is the financial engine of any hospital and if it is not running efficiently, it impacts the entire organization,” said John Antes, president, Barnes Jewish Progress West Healthcare Center. “Investing in perioperative technology that improves efficiencies, supports cost reduction efforts, and promotes patient safety is imperative for the success of the OR and the hospital.”

The OR is seen to uniquely benefit from departmental solutions
One of the more interesting findings addressed the question of using enterprise-wide solutions versus implementing departmental systems for scheduling in the OR.

Seventy-six percent agreed with the statement that “Scheduling the OR is inherently different from scheduling other services in the hospital and therefore requires a uniquely tailored process and information technology solution.”

How do hospital executives judge a vendor’s ability to fit into their organization’s IT landscapes? Survey respondents indicated the most significant elements included the ability to integrate or interface with existing information systems, the quality and functionality of the product itself, and word-of-mouth, referrals, recommendations or vendor reputation.

“Clearly, hospital executives are looking to perioperative software to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the OR,” said Ed Daihl, SIS chief executive officer. They see Perioperative IT as having tremendous potential to control costs while delivering efficiencies to help address the demands of rising surgical volumes.

“An important consideration of perioperative IT success is for these systems to easily integrate with the core electronic health record and hospital information systems,” he added.

Article written by Erin McCann, Associate Editor for Healthcare IT News

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