CHEO Re-engineers its Operating Rooms

After successfully reducing wait times in Emergency two years ago, CHEO set its sites on its Operating room for a major process re-engineering project that could help CHEO operate on more children and youth each year, while maintaining and improving patient safety.

CHEO used the “Lean” approach – a system which formally and continuously reviews processes and identifies areas to trim down and make improvements. Lean techniques originated in the auto manufacturing industry and have proven highly successful both in other business environments and in a number of hospitals within the US and Canada.

The project engaged a cross-functional team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, clerks, health-care aids and patient’s family members – all of whom were pleased with the results:

  • Increased operation rooms utilization by almost 5 percent. This could enable us to operate on 250 more children this year than the previous year.
  • For the first time, we will meet our commitment to the Ontario Wait Time Strategic Initiative, performing additional elective surgical cases over and above our average volumes in previous years.
  • We have increased by 15 percent our ability to start the first surgery of the day on time, thus reducing delays and easing the level of stress on patients, their families and the staff.
  • We launched a new Surgical Booking process that streamlined booking procedures. As a result, the OR schedule is now booked further in advance, providing tremendous insight for personnel and equipment planning – and allowing patients and their families more preparation time.
  • Our Surgical Safety Check List performance has improved from 76 percent to 97 percent since implementing a refined procedure, enhanced training and regularly published performance report.
  • We have developed and tested a new pre-assessment clinic procedure that will ensure all our patients are screened in a timely and effective manner prior to their surgery date. We plan on launching this new process later this year. This will help improve patient safety and reduce case cancellations.

This is a continuous improvement journey. The key to our future success lies in maintaining our focus on our core values as we continue to search for better ways to provide safe, effective healthcare for our patients.