One Medical Passport Blog

Addressing the Problem of Cancelled and Delayed Surgeries

Facilities suffer from the burden of a delayed or cancelled surgery as much as patients. For the patient, it means the anxiety and frustration of a delayed procedure, and for the facility it not only means the disruption of their workflow and case load, but a huge financial hit as well. Many facilities are seeking solutions to this difficult problem and are turning to better technology. Cloud-based platforms offer meaningful gains to both the patient and the facility, in terms of safety, efficiency and finances.

The number of cancelled procedures at surgical facilities today averages 3% to as high as 10%. Researchers at Tulane University Medical Center found that in 2009, 327 of 4,876 (6.7%) scheduled elective outpatient surgeries were cancelled, costing the hospital nearly $1 million that year alone [1.]. Study author Sabrina Bent, MD, MS, clinical associate professor of anesthesiology and director of research at the Tulane University Department of Anesthesia, notes the extended impact as well. The bulk of the cost from cancelled surgery stems from “opportunity costs,” Dr. Bent says. When surgeries are cancelled on short notice, hospitals are unable to swap in other procedures that would bring in lost revenue.

Some cancellations cannot be avoided by the facility, but more and more is being done to avoid those they can. In a study published in Advances in Orthopedics, of 3,195 patients deemed fit for total joint arthroplasty surgery, 114 patients (3.5%) had their surgery cancelled. Ninety-two cancellations (80%) were due to the patient being deemed medically unsuitable for surgery by the anesthetist [2.]. This is where facilities are turning to technology, and companies like One Medical Passport, to better anticipate patients’ risks and needs on the day of surgery.

Medical Passport effectively alerts facilities to risks and conditions needed to be assessed more closely well in advance of the day of surgery. By identifying facility-specific criteria such as high BMI, malignant hypothermia, or certain medications or other medical conditions to be red-flagged in patients’ medical histories, facilities ensure that pre-op nurses and anesthetists have the ability to review the necessary charts in a timely manner via the patient alerts screen. In addition, the Quality Assurance tool further customizes and automates pre-op diagnostic testing by providing assessments that screen for risk factors including sleep apnea, deep vein thrombosis, allergies, pain assessment, and fall risks prior to admission. This targeted information helps anesthesiologists and surgeons determine risk levels for patients with comorbidities and alerts staff to special preparations needed prior to or in the O.R., helping avoid costly delays on day of surgery. The patient safety benefits, as well as financial implications, are invaluable.

In addition to cancelations resulting from high risk patients not being identified, facilities also struggle cancelations due to NPO compliance issues. Passport Engage is our patient communication tool that delivers timed and relevant messages to patients, optimizing their perioperative experience and assisting facilities in providing important pre-op NPO instructions to the patient when it matters most.  To learn more about our entire suite of solutions visit onempcompany.com or call 800-540-7527.

 

Sources:

* Becker’s ASC Review, May 4, 2017, http://www.beckersasc.com/asc-turnarounds-ideas-to-improve-performance/net-revenue-for-11-common-asc-specialties-orthopedics-1-with-3-1k-per-case.html
1. McCook, Alison. “Cancelled Surgeries Costing Hospitals Millions.” Anesthesiology News, May 2012
2. Dalton, David, et al. “Day of Surgery Admission in Total Joint Arthroplasty: Why Are Surgeries Cancelled? An Analysis of 3195 Planned Procedures and 114 Cancellations”Advances in Orthopedics, Volume 2016

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