Healthcare News & Insights

Study: ORs are overworked, but health IT can help

Most hospitals’ operating rooms are struggling to cut costs and keep up with growing case loads. But many are turning to health IT for help. 

That’s the word in a recent survey of 142 hospital decision makers from vendor Surgical Information Systems (SIS).

The majority (73%) of hospitals expect their OR case volume to increase over the next three years, with just under half (49%) having already experienced an increase in the past 12 months.

Due to those increases, hospitals recognize the need for improving operating room efficiency in order to control costs for the hospital as a whole. Increasing OR efficiency and throughput is a prime strategy for cutting costs, according to 73% of survey respondents. Other top answers given were more closely managing workflow (57%), cutting spending on supplies (52%) and reducing overtime (35%).

Many hospitals will look to technology to help them with those initiatives, and 79% of respondents agreed that health IT is a critical factor for success in the operating room.

In addition, nearly all (96%) said that having health IT solutions in place is beneficial for recruiting top-quality doctors and nurses.

When asked what features are essential for IT systems in the OR, the top answers were:

  • Scheduling tools (20%)
  • Integration with systems in other departments (16%), and
  • Real-time access to electronic records (12%).

Most respondents agreed that the OR has different needs than the rest of the hospital, and therefore needs its own software solutions. For example, 76% agreed that scheduling in the OR is inherently from scheduling in other departments.

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