5 Ways Effective Communication Can Improve OR Efficiency

Here are five ways effective communication in and out of the operating room can improve OR efficiency.

1. Effective communication between the charge nurse and anesthesiologist can streamline processes in the operating room. "In hospitals where the charge physician and the charge nurse work together in conjunction as a team, the work tends to be more efficient and effective," says Howard Greenfield, MD, a principal of management and consulting firm Enhance Healthcare.

2. Clear communication can ensure safe patient handoffs in and out of the OR. Michael Cohen, PhD, William D. Hamilton Professor of Complex Systems, Information & Public Policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, says one way to improve communication during handoffs is for the clinicians to ask questions and encourage feedback from each other.

3. Communication between OR leaders and OR team members can facilitate the implementation of process or policy changes. "The perioperative leader should be an excellent communicator with a deep knowledge of OR management in order to successfully make the necessary changes required in carrying out the hospital's overall goals," says Leo Penzi, MD, executive vice chair of the department of anesthesia at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., a member of the board of directors of North American Partners in Anesthesia and assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology at Hofstra North Shore-Long Island Jewish School of Medicine.

4. Communication is an important tool in mentoring OR team members and other staff who interact with the department. OR leaders should provide a balance of praise and constructive criticism to motivate others to continue working and improving, according to Ron Wince, CEO of management consulting firm Guidon Performance Solutions.

5. Timely communication with patients can improve on-time case starts. OR staff should communicate with each patient — by phone for general cases and in person for more complex cases — before their surgery to complete the necessary paperwork and screening needed for the surgical case, according to Lucas Higman, BABA, MBA, vice president of Soyring Consulting.

Related Articles on OR Efficiency:

10 Studies on Surgical Training
10 Operating Room Construction Projects Underway, Completed

Should Hospital OR Leaders Be Clinicians?

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