3 Time-Saving Tips to Improve Room Turnover in Your OR

3 Time-Saving Tips to Improve Room Turnover in Your OR

How much more profitable would your ASC be if you could add just one additional procedure per OR each day? According to Outpatient Surgery magazine, you can easily make your ORs more available, without compromising patient safety, by making a few tweaks to your room turnover process.

Here are 3 time-saving tips they recommend:

1. Clean by Zones

While many ASCs assign turnover tasks to individual staff members, the forward-thinking administrators at Regina Hospital in Minnesota found that wasn’t the most efficient approach because each individual role was irreplaceable. What if one member of the turnover team was delayed or called away to handle an emergency? The turnover process would be stalled. To sidestep this problem, they implemented turnover zones.

Immediately after a procedure is complete, a staffer places a disinfectant wipe on every item that needs to be cleaned. When someone walks in and sees the wipe, they know immediately which areas need to be cleaned.

The first staff member in the room handles Zone 1 — cleaning the beds and overhead lights. His duties include things like cleaning the bottom and top of the mattress, the wheels (if visibly soiled), and the bed remote. He also wipes down the overhead lights and handles.

Zone 2 is handled by the scrub tech or the second person in the room. She takes care of wiping down the anesthesia machine including all of its cords, handles and knobs. She disinfects the medication cart, scanner, computer keyboard and mouse. She also cleans the IV pole, forced-air warming unit, cabinets, tables and trash bins

Finally, Zone 3 is tackled by the nurse or last person in the room after the patient exits. He disinfects the nurse’s station. Specific duties include thoroughly cleaning the patient board, phone and light switches, the fluid suction device, the cautery machine, and the broom machine.

By implementing turnover zones, Regina Hospital decreased their average turnover time from 22.1 minutes to 19.3 minutes.

2. Use Efficient Disinfectants

Not all disinfectants are created equally. Some dry more quickly than others, which helps cut down on turnover time. According to Administrator Kelly Norman, RN, CNOR, at Advanced Family Surgery Center in Tennessee, “You need to know what bacteria it's killing and if it's going to kill things properly and in a timely manner. There are different disinfectants for surface tops and floors and they have different concentrations and different kill times."

At Regina Hospital, disinfectant wipes are the preferred choice because they have a shorter dry time than using microfiber cloths.

"If you use a microfiber cloth and you're dipping every time, you're going to have a longer dry time, around 10 minutes," says Jason Bainbridge, RN, BSN, MBA, patient care manager at Regina Hospital. "With the wipes, by the time you get to the next station, the one you previously wiped off is almost dry."

3. Break the Break Habit

Of course we all need a break every now and then, but taking quick breaks when it’s time for OR turnover causes unnecessary delays. Unfortunately, it’s a common reason for slower turnover times according to Anne Dean, RN, BSN, LRM, co-founder and CEO of The ADA Group, which specializes in ambulatory surgical development and regulatory compliance.

She says, "What I saw was a lot of people going for a quick break. And not just the staff, but the doctors were hitting the lounge, too. There was a habit, a routine, for grabbing a cup of coffee or a snack between cases. Breaks need to be scheduled."

She also recommends beefing up staffing to assist with turnover times. She says the additional procedures your facility will be able to book will more than cover the salaries for additional turnover staff.

For even more suggestions on ways to reduce your ASC’s turnover time, check out the complete article Room Turnovers: Life in the Fast Lane.   


We Want to Hear From You!

How does your ASC streamline the turnover process? Share your tips in the comments below.