The "pit crew" approach 35 hospitals are using to maximize OR performance

The operating room (OR) is among the most important departments in a hospital and often the largest profit center. It is also one of the most complex areas, with multiple moving parts.

That's why hospital leaders are looking for creative solutions to optimize their ORs.

Becker's Hospital Review recently spoke with Enrique Gallegos, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Surgical Solutions, about the struggles hospitals face in maximizing OR efficiency and why hospitals across the country — from large safety-nets, academic medical centers, and integrated health systems to community hospitals — partner with Surgical Solutions to improve their OR operations.

Pressing challenges

Prior to joining Surgical Solutions, Mr. Gallegos was CEO of a hospital system in Texas, so he is intimately familiar with the challenges healthcare executives face.

For hospital and health system leaders, the complexities in managing operating rooms aren't new. Mr. Gallegos described these challenges as the pursuit of achieving constant readiness, improving workflow, maximizing throughput, and ensuring surgery is performed in the safest environment for the patient. "This complexity has been a persistent challenge for administrators for years," Mr. Gallegos said.

Harmonizing the moving parts

Based on its intense focus and extensive experience in OR operations, Surgical Solutions has developed a comprehensive suite of services geared toward the OR continuum of care. These services, which can be tailored and customized, combine people, process, and technology.

Surgical Solutions has proven a differentiated ability to help hospital partners in four key areas:

  1.  Staffing. As hospitals across the country wrestle with staffing shortages, the ability to supply expert technicians is critical for success. Surgical Solutions staffs technicians at 35 hospitals across 10 states, supporting over 100,000 cases per year, through a proven model for building and maintaining a strong talent pipeline. Technicians complete a rigorous training program and are credentialed as Certified Registered Central Service Technicians (CRCST). They are easily embedded into partners’ ORs and sterile processing departments (SPD) as part of day-to-day operations and equipped with technology and best practices to improve their department’s performance.

    "We understand the inner workings of an OR and have great intelligence on best practices in OR settings through our proprietary Surgical Cost Management Platform," Mr. Gallegos said. "Thanks to our ability to backfill certain positions with our trained technicians, we have demonstrated that we can meaningfully decrease a lot of the exorbitant contract labor costs today’s hospitals are facing."

  2. Equipment repair and maintenance. Surgical Solutions provides a concierge-like service by quickly repairing and maintaining equipment used in ORs, including equipment for minimally invasive surgery. Unlike many others in this space, Surgical Solutions’ vendor-agnostic approach means their staff can work with and repair all brands and models of equipment. Many hospitals don't want to deal with this burden and benefit significantly from having Surgical Solutions take on this responsibility. "We have demonstrated that we've been able to curb repair expenditures by up to 85% and improve uptime on critical equipment yielding over $1M in savings at some hospitals as a result of the competencies our staff bring to the OR," Mr. Gallegos said.

  3. Supply chain. Surgical Solutions is also able to take on management of the supply chain process for the OR. This includes handling procurement of disposables and other equipment and managing logistics with partners seeing decreased waste and achieving savings for the hospital upwards of 30%.

  4. Capital. In the current environment, many hospitals are either capital constrained or are faced with the difficult decision of prioritizing across competing needs. As a result, some service lines aren’t optimized from an equipment standpoint, leading to frustrated surgeons and staff.  Surgical Solutions can handle the capital outlay directly allowing hospitals to modernize dated equipment and unlock new revenue streams. The ability to invest in the right equipment attracts the best surgeons, drives more volume, increases surgeon and nurse satisfaction, and ultimately improves patient outcomes.

"We help orchestrate the symphony that occurs in an OR through a pit-crew approach," Mr. Gallegos said, in explaining how these services come together. "When you look at all the moving pieces, the different disciplines involved — nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and more — we allow them to focus on the patient, without being distracted by troubleshooting equipment or having to delay surgery because an instrumentation tray was incomplete or incorrect. Our teams are in the trenches constantly calibrating and lending real-time support to ensure nurses and surgeons are in an optimized environment, where they feel supported and empowered to work at the top of their license."

When clinicians work at the top of their license, a hospital is more efficient, produces better outcomes and has more satisfied patients and staff. Thanks to the confluence of services unlocked by Surgical Solutions, hospitals can operate their ORs more efficiently, with reduced costs and increased revenue.

When outsourcing, choose expert partners

In recent decades, hospital and health system leaders have opted to outsource many services, including anesthesia, ED staffing, hospitalists, food and nutrition, environmental services, and more. The reason: "More and more hospital leaders recognize the value of partnering with a company whose core competency is to provide a specific service," Mr. Gallegos said. Surgical Solutions' core competency is the OR and its interrelationship with SPD.

When considering possible partners, Mr. Gallegos suggested looking at a company's reputation, its track record of success and "whether they've worked with a facility that resembles yours." Surgical Solutions has an outstanding reputation and a 90-plus percent customer renewal rate, and partners with all types of hospitals. "Our model works extremely well in all settings and is tailored it to address the specific pain points of each hospital."

For more information please email: or call directly at 847-607-6098.

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