Dr. Richard Kube: How Spine Surgeons Can Maximize Efficiency of ORs

Operating rooms are some of the busiest areas of any healthcare facility, and keeping them efficient is a challenge that must be met daily. Richard Kube, MD, founder and CEO of the Prairie Spine & Pain Institute in Peoria, Ill., notes that the efficiency of an operating room, especially at spine centers, can be maximized in several simple ways.

Have access to more than one OR
Most hospitals have numerous ORs, but for smaller, start-up spine centers, it might not always be an option. However, Dr. Kube says having the ability to move between multiple ORs allows surgeons to increase their workflow and improve the turnover of equipment and operation times. "That's really where your time as a surgeon will be eaten up the fastest — sitting around and waiting," he says.

Consider doing own injections
With access to a pain room, Dr. Kube is able to do his own epidural steroid injections and other diagnostic tests. Working between a pain room and the OR, surgeons, anesthesiologists and all OR staff are able to prepare patients sooner and complete the patients' surgeries in a quicker timeframe. This maximizes the OR's volume, takes care of the patient faster and maximizes surgeon productivity and efficiency, he says.

Duplicate equipment
If the OR's volume is high, duplicating the surgical equipment and sets of instruments can reduce the turnover time between cases, Dr. Kube says.

Instill main concepts with OR staff
Having the OR staff and the surgeon on the same page with daily goals is crucial to the efficiency of the OR. Dr. Kube says a hospital may not always be on the same page with a surgeon, as it completes cases based on staff available, but the staff a surgeon deals with regularly should always know what the surgeon's main initiatives are.

Maintain OR staff consistency
In the end, Dr. Kube says having a consistent OR staff is one of the best ways to both increase efficiency and sprout teamwork. "They are accustomed to what you use and don't use, how they can streamline a case," Dr. Kube says. "They can even put small trays together specifically designed to small cases to decrease instrument turnover." He says these types of small measures can save 15 to 20 minutes per case in the OR, which when added together yields enough time to do another case in some instances.

Related Articles on OR Efficiency:

Anesthesiologist, Nurse Relationships Key to Patient Throughput
6 Ways an Operating Room Can Become More Environmentally Friendly
6 Steps to Ensure Operating Room Safety and Efficiency

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