Resource integration in the healthcare industry - focused on surgery
Resource integration is a crucial element of successful service delivery in the area of surgery. The integration includes several types: facilities/equipment, staff/skills, and supplies, as well as close coordination with pre- and post- operative service providers.
In the hospital I work at, surgery start time is scheduled to a specific hour & minute. The expectation is that surgeries will start on time, in order to allow for effective completion of all surgeries to be done on the particular day - to make best use of operating rooms, and surgeon and other staff time.
On-time start of each surgery requires a well-orchestrated planning and management of all resources that can be involved: the patient (on time arrival, preparation, required paperwork), the surgeon(s), the anesthesiologist, the OR nursing staff (with right skill and experience for the particular surgical procedure), the right equipment & tools (some complex surgeries may involve 100s or several 100s pieces of specialized equipment and tools - all sterile and set up in a specific way), any specialized supplies - such as implants (of correct size, type, manufacturer), and other staff such as xray technicians, pathologists, and much more. Complex surgical procedures may last 4-6 hours and thus it may require several teams of nurses and technicians to cover rest and meal breaks.
Many hospitals use computerized tools to help in resource coordination, staff scheduling, and tracking of surgical procedures. However, even the most advanced such IT systems are not able to handle the sometimes subtle staff planning and job assignments among the OR nursing staff to match the best set of nurses and OR techs to each surgical procedures - and balance the needs across multiple operating rooms active at the same time - with focus on overall patient safety as the key driver. Usually, the key role of the staff planning and assignment is performed by experienced nurse managers who are familiar with the specific clinical needs for different procedures, and the experience of individual staff members - as well as the professional interests and focus of staff.