The case study under analysis presents a significant problem for a community hospital that focuses on the practice of surgery. The medical establishment relies on a block time principle to standardize surgeons’ work time. However, an issue appears since healthcare professionals tend to underutilize time in operating rooms. This fact results in the problem that the organization’s resources are wasted when surgeons do not perform surgeries, meaning that nurses and anesthesia doctors sit idly. Simultaneously, this problem leads to secondary issues that can affect healthcare service delivery. On the one hand, since some medical professionals do not engage in regular operations, they experience reduced motivation, resulting in worse performance. On the other hand, the absence of surgery can lead to patient dissatisfaction which is an essential aspect. Consequently, the underutilization of block time needs improvement since it brings vital challenges.
Specific actions are necessary to address the problem and secondary issues above. Firstly, it is essential to revise the policies for granting block time. Now, this approach is considered a privilege, but it is necessary to allocate operating rooms based on service needs forecasts (Griffith & White, 2011). Secondly, Kim et al. (2020) admit that it is possible to improve operational efficiency by minimizing the amount of low-value care. It means that acute care surgeons should be prioritized over plastic, ophthalmology, and orthopedic professionals when it comes to allocating and maintaining operational time. Thirdly, Simms (2014) admits that it is reasonable to rely on “an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) platform and analytics application” (para. 8). It is so because this tool contributes to seamless workflows since it analyzes multiple metrics, including patient satisfaction and release time, and offers practical solutions on how to balance them (Simms, 2014). Thus, these three actions can enhance operational efficiency and quality of care in the hospital under investigation.
It is possible to mention that the proposed solutions also build a culture of excellence in the medical establishment. Griffith and White (2011) clarify that excellence consists of solid earnings, quality of care, and patient satisfaction. One should explain how the scenario above addresses these three issues. Firstly, relying on service needs forecasts will result in the fact that medical professionals will not spend much time sitting idly. As a result, the organization will not waste its resources during these periods. Secondly, reducing the amount of low-value care will ensure that more critical operations will take place. Consequently, the hospital will impress with a higher quality of care based on its performance indicators. Finally, using the EDW tool will draw attention to patient satisfaction, bringing the third component of the culture of excellence.
In conclusion, the case study under consideration has demonstrated that although block time is considered a practical approach, it can generate adverse consequences if misused. The paper has indicated that it is necessary to draw sufficient attention to ensure that surgeons do not underutilize assigned time. Thus, investing in service needs forecast, minimizing the amount of low-value care, and relying on the enterprise data warehouse tools are considered adequate solutions to enhance operational efficiency. They also build a culture of excellence because these steps lead to better patient satisfaction, increased quality of care, and strong earnings. Consequently, the case study analysis has justified that it is a significant task to make sure that the applied practice results in essential benefits for the organization.
Griffith, J. R., & White, K. R. (2011). Researching excellence in healthcare management. Health Administration Press.
Kim, D. D., Ollendorf, D. A., Neumann, P. J., & Fendrick, A. M. (2020). Crisis into opportunity: Can COVID-19 help set a path to improved health care efficiency? The American Journal of Managed Care, 26(09), 369-370. Web.
Simms, A. (2015). How to integrate patient satisfaction data to deliver quality healthcare and improve operational efficiency. Health Catalyst. Web.