We recently read an article in Harvard Business Review titled “How Digital Transformation Can Improve Hospitals’ Operational Decisions” and agree with the authors that the use of digital technologies have the potential to help hospitals make better decisions in many areas of operations.

The article states that “Research and hospitals’ experiences show that digital technologies can make a big difference in such areas as the management of the patient flow, staffing, scheduling, and the supply chain. The result can be improvements in the quality and efficiency of care and patients’ access to it.”

The article continues, “As hospitals strive to provide the right care to the right patient at the right time, care providers need to do two things: evaluate patients’ needs accurately and manage hospital resources effectively. While providers are well trained to do the former, they’re usually not trained for the latter, which is a challenging task — especially given the strain on hospital capacity that’s all too common these days due to the pandemic.”

Related to the challenges of hospital staffing, the article states that “Digital technologies can also help with the supply side when it comes to better managing capacity. Take, for example, nurse staffing, which accounts for a significant proportion of hospitals’ costs. Instead of relying on phone calls, text messages, and spreadsheets to make ad-hoc staffing decisions that often change at the very last minute, charge nurses and hospital administrators can utilize analytics to improve this process.”

And, in regard to the area of scheduling, the authors contend that “While many hospitals have moved to electronically capturing and storing patient records, the scheduling of various resources is still largely a manual process. This applies to the scheduling of surgical procedures in operating rooms, scans in radiology suites, and many others. This is another area where digital technologies can bring substantial improvements — not only by better predicting resource needs and effortlessly incorporating last-minute changes and cancelations but also by optimizing schedules based on the latest information.”

We think that the article’s findings are spot-on. RelayOne’s solution is a digital platform designed to help solve many of these challenges today – staffing, operational efficiency & performance improvement.

We know that the inefficiencies in surgical services are nothing new, but the costs of those problems have become unsustainable. The financial fallout from cancelled or delayed elective procedures due to COVID-19 is one of many challenges health systems are facing as we navigate through 2022.

In fact, an analysis conducted on behalf of the American Hospital Association concluded that hospitals nationwide would lose an estimated $54 billion in net income over the course of 2021, which would ultimately leave more than one-third of hospitals at the end of 2021 with negative margins.

To help offset these shortfalls, many hospital leaders are now looking to their largest revenue centers – surgical services and their operating and procedural rooms. However, they are finding there is much room for performance improvement in this area of their operations.

Research commissioned by RelayOne bears this out. An independent study of 100 hospital leaders found that the vast majority ─ 96% ─ think their ORs could run more optimally and that most believe utilization is 20% to 30% lower than it should be, prompting more than 70% of health system leaders to say increasing surgical services’ throughput efficiently and safely is top-of-mind for them.

In response to these challenges, RelayOne has written a “How-to-Guide: Four Simple Steps Surgical Services Teams Can Take in 2022 to Improve the Financial and Operational Performance of their Operating Rooms” that offers some high-level guidance for hospital and surgical services administrators to consider, including how, with RelayOne, they can efficiently and effectively:

    1. Boost Surgical Services Team Productivity & Satisfaction,
    2. Establish a Streamlined Approach to Surgery,
    3. Modernize Operating Room Scheduling Communications Methods, and
    4. Focus on Enabling First-Case on Time Starts.

To read RelayOne’s “How-to-Guide” and start to execute on your 2022 surgical services strategic optimization plan, visit https://relayone.com/how-to-guide-4-steps-to-surgical-services-optimization/.

And, to read the Harvard Business Review article reference above, visit https://hbr.org/2022/01/how-digital-transformation-can-improve-hospitals-operational-decisions.