4 Best Practices for Managing Surgical Equipment in New Facilities

Practice Management

When constructing a new hospital or ambulatory surgical center, it is important for facility leaders and project planners to anticipate the surgical instruments their facility will require once opened. Medical device manufacturer Aesculap Inc. provider of surgical instrumentation and orthopedic/spine implants worldwide has pioneered a standardized service which helps healthcare facilities and practice leaders to better plan, order and implement instrumentation through use of detailed budgeting in the early phases of a project. Here are four best practices for managing surgical instrumentation for a new facility.

1. Begin with the end in mind. Traditionally, when plans for a new hospital begin, the project managers wait until after local clinical teams are hired in order to identify their instrument needs. However, this practice usually  generates substantial costs and delays. Understanding the instrument demands related to each surgical specialty is the first step in preparing for the impact set volumes, types and configurations will have on your sterile processing department and operating room. With Aesculap’s level of instrument expertise we can help provide detailed budget estimates for each specialty and surgical procedure to be performed at the new center, says Brian Reed, National Strategic Business Development Manager of Aesculap. "Starting the budgeting/ordering process early allowed our hospital to do incremental ordering so we could get instruments checked in and be sure we had what we needed," says John Kueven, clinical resource manager at North Mississippi Health System.

When instrument planning is underestimated Mr. Reed says generally 15-20 percent of instruments ordered will need to be revised. Identifying the instrument needs early also gives a better prediction of the impact instruments will have on your project timeline. "Many times the surgical instrument budget is overlooked or underestimated. This results in budget overruns or limits the ability to make necessary instrument revisions after the books have been closed," says Mr. Reed.

2. Prepare for success.
If healthcare providers identify their true instruments volumes early, they can design their facility for optimal workflow. This design allows for ample sterile storage space and the correct washer and sterilizer capacity. By paying attention to these details early in the process you ensure cases start on time and have the products available when needed. "Be responsible with your purchase," says Mr. Reed. "Build an instrument/equipment tracking system into the design phase of the project rather than doing it retroactively. Having tracking hardware built into the workflow during construction is more efficient and cost effective. By starting early  we can insure the Instrument Tracking system is fully functioning and the staff is trained prior to the facility opening..  

3. Efficient Execution. Rather than replicate inefficient, heavy, and expensive instrument trays from an existing facility to your new hospital,  Aesculap works with doctors and/or nurses to achieve a streamlined instrument sets which serve the needs of the staff while removing any unnecessary equipment. The result is 15 percent or more savings on the initial purchase as well as ongoing savings on instrument processing and maintenance. There seems to be a misconception that physicians are too busy to assist in the development of practical instrument sets. "My experience has been the contrary; most of our end user customers understand every minute spent performing instrument set audits on the front end of a project saves 10 minutes of delays on the back end," says Mr. Reed. He suggests staging incremental orders based on a projected ramp up in the OR schedule and procedure volume.

4. Pursue a proven model. All too often, the implementation of equipment for large expansion projects rests on the shoulders of the busy hospital staff or overwhelmed local representative. "These projects move at such a rapid pace, there is no time for learning curves," says Mr. Reed. "We have become experts in the business of organizing large orders for our customers prior to shipment and we do this through being a partner throughout the process, promoting a responsible timeline and maintaining an ongoing commitment to the project beyond the open."

Learn more about Aesculap.

Read more about orthopedic and spine practice development:

- Financing and Developing De Novo ASCs: Q&A With Kyle Goldammer of Surgical Management Professionals

- 3 Mistakes Physician Owners Make When Developing a New ASC

- 7 Ways to Ensure Payment Without Damaging Patient Relationships

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