As the population gets older and people live longer, there is a growing demand for surgical procedures, especially as more advanced medical treatment options become available. The operating room (OR) is the one of the most important and expensive parts of the hospital, generating up to 60% of revenue and driving up to 40% of costs. Globally, healthcare administrators’ top priority is to enable greater efficiencies that can improve financial, clinical and administrative performance in the OR, helping to prevent excessive wait times, scheduling cancellations and other hospital-visit hassles for patients.
The operating room environment is complex. Clinicians and administrators face challenges in gaining accurate and real-time data to assist in scheduling staff, planning for surgical procedures and ensuring the availability of surgical materials. Having greater visibility into what is happening in the next hour and week in the OR helps to increase capacity and efficiency and enhance the performance of surgical staff.
To help address these issues, GE Healthcare announced this week it has agreed to acquire CHCA Computer Systems Inc., a Montreal, Canada-based Operating Room (OR) management and analytics solutions provider. CHCA’s Opera OR Management solution provides a set of tools to ensure that surgical scheduling and material management is based on reliable data, and efficient communication and processes, which helps ensure less waiting and reduced delays for OR visitors. CHCA has provided a robust operating room management solution for more than 23 years, and since 2003 GE Healthcare has closely partnered with CHCA to distribute and support this solution in Europe.
With improved planning and scheduling, CHCA’s Opera solution has already helped patients in several hospitals. In 2010, a national implementation of Opera at NHS Fife, one of 14 health boards serving the community of NHS Scotland, standardized OR (theater) management across the majority of the country. Nineteen theaters across two sites were monitored in real time.
Some improvements observed as a result of Opera’s implementation include better resource allocation, with an approximately 22% increase in theater efficiency and clearer visibility of overrunning or early finishing cases to prevent bottlenecks. Additionally, increased predictability has helped theaters in planning ahead – not just reporting on what has been done, but through predictive schedule management that helps to prevent cancellations. More accurate data from fewer data inputting errors and more transparent data has helped drive improved performance. NHS also saw a potential to gain financial benefits from materials management.
This acquisition is part of GE’s Industrial Internet strategy to connect people using the power of software, data and analytics to address 21st century health care challenges, and increase speed and efficiency to benefit both hospitals and patients. It is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2014. More information can be found here.
1 – K. Randa, “Using IT to Drive Operational Efficiency in the OR.” HFM (Healthcare Financial Management) 64, no. 12 (2010).