The Most Common Reasons Why Surgical Procedures Get Delayed


Are you looking for a way to maximize the use of your hospital’s operating rooms? If so, you need to take advantage of software that can help you maximize operating room utilization. The faster you can get procedures completed, the more work you can get done every day. This can help the hospital generate a significant amount of revenue. At the same time, you do not want to sacrifice patient care at the altar of speed. Therefore, it is critical to take a closer look at some of the most common reasons why surgical procedures get delayed. That way, you can eliminate some of these delays, get the patient in the operating room faster, and complete more procedures every day.

The Patient Has a Reaction to the Anesthesia

One of the most common reasons why a procedure might get delayed is that the patient has a reaction to the anesthesia. Obviously, the procedure cannot begin until the patient is asleep. There are numerous anesthetic agents available, and the anesthesiologist needs to pick the right one to put the patient to sleep. Unfortunately, there are some situations where the patient might have a reaction to the anesthesia. Therefore, the anesthesiologist may need to pick a different type of medication. It can take a while to draw up this medication and deliver it, so this could cause the procedure to fall behind before it even begins.

The Cleanup Process Takes Too Long

Another reason why a surgical procedure might get delayed is that the room is not ready. Of course, the room has to be sterilized before the next patient can arrive. Unfortunately, there are situations where the cleanup process might take too long. Perhaps the janitorial team is tied up in another room. Or, maybe the equipment is not working correctly. Perhaps there was an emergency procedure that took place, leaving behind a significant mess. All of these are common issues why the cleaning process might get delayed. Hospitals need to make sure they have enough equipment and staff members to clean rooms quickly. That way, the next procedure can start on time.

The Trays Are Not Right 

Next, a surgical procedure might get delayed because the trays are not correct. For the surgeon to operate efficiently, the trays need to have the right tools in them. Typically, there are standard tools that go in specific trays for specific procedures. It can be a rude surprise if the surgeon opens the tray only to realize that the right tools are not present. Then, the procedure might get delayed because the surgeon needs to find the right tool for that specific step of the operation. Hospitals need to take steps to minimize the chances of this happening. The surgical techs need to be trained appropriately to understand what tools go in what trays. That way, the surgeon can find the tool when he or she needs it.

The Prior Procedure Ran Long

Finally, a procedure might get delayed because the prior procedure ran over. There is a strict operating room schedule that surgeons need to follow. Unfortunately, there might be complications with a procedure, causing it to run long. As a result, all the other procedures get delayed. To prevent this issue from happening, hospitals need to take a look at the schedule to see if there is any flexibility that might be present. That way, if one procedure gets delayed, the next procedure can get moved to another operating room so it can start on time.

Increase OR Use

These are just a few of the many reasons why a surgical procedure might get delayed. Hospitals make a significant amount of money in the operating room. A lot of this money is used to cover departments that might lose money. Therefore, it is critical for hospitals to maximize the revenue of their surgical teams. One of the ways to do that is to increase the number of procedures that take place every day. This can be done by taking steps to eliminate common operating room delays. Take a look at a few of the column problems above, and see if you can take steps to rectify them in your operating rooms.

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