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Surgical staff work as a team, yet schedules of different provider types are often kept entirely separate. Originally, this was due to the tools involved – manual scheduling is hard enough; manually coordinating across schedules is impossible. With modern tools, however, there is no longer any need to deny your team the benefits of coordinating surgical schedules across provider types.

Provider types involved anywhere along the path from perioperative to postoperative care should have visibility into each other’s schedules. This includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, nurses and surgical techs. While these groups do not all need to be on a single schedule, by coordinating their schedules, it becomes easier to access data, match skill mix to patient demand and promote teamwork. It will also ensure the right team of staff is ready for the day’s cases, which helps avoid delays and cancellations.

Simplify Data Sharing

When healthcare organizations seek to control costs or improve efficiency, the first thing they need is data. When it comes to an efficient surgical staffing strategy, the data involved have to include the provider schedules.

By keeping these schedules in separate silos, interpreting the data as a whole becomes a Herculean task. When these schedules are coordinated, it is possible to pull staffing data by entire units or specific teams and gain a fuller understanding of the staffing situation.

Ensure Right Skill Mix

One of the most frustrating aspects of surgical scheduling is discovering, at the point when the patient is ready to go, that the team lacks the proper skill mix for the case. Last minute scrambling to find an available provider with the proper credentials wastes time, backs up the day’s procedures and irritates the staff.

By coordinating schedules across provider types, it is easy for any member of the surgical team to see who is available. This makes finding a replacement provider faster. Even better, if schedules are integrated with the EHR and credentialing data, assignments can be made with full visibility into the skill sets needed and which provider has the required credentials.

Foster Teamwork

When visibility is available across provider types, it promotes the sense that everyone on the staff is part of a team. People can see who is working with them for the day and where their other colleagues are assigned. In addition, by encouraging people to view the entire surgical staff as a team, they make it easier for people to collaborate and communicate with one another.

Surgical teams may be comprised of several different provider types, but they are still a team. Coordinating schedules across the entire surgical staff provides an opportunity to access better data, ensure properly credentialed staff are assigned to each case and actively promote teamwork.

For more insights into surgical schedules, see the video, OR Staffing Challenges.