PRNewswire - An annual survey of hospital executives highlights the increased importance of reducing costs in the perioperative department. Seventy-eight percent of the survey's respondents are considering or planning projects to reduce perioperative costs in the next year, a 34 percent increase in OR cost reduction projects since 2010. Twenty-five percent of hospitals in 2010 cited maximizing reimbursements as their top financial concern.

 In 2011, that number dropped by 56 percent. Top cited cost reduction projects focus on reducing costs of supplies, implants and tissues, standardizing supplies, and reducing waste. In a clear shift from last year, hospitals are prioritizing cost reduction efforts over reimbursement concerns.  Healthcare Financial Management Association President and CEO, Richard L. Clarke, adds, "The payment reductions facing providers over the next 10 years require healthcare finance leaders to move beyond cost containment strategies. Instead, organizations need to improve efficiency by removing waste and duplication within the delivery system.

HFMA found through its Value Project research with leading healthcare systems that successful organizations rely on these key features.

  1. An accountable culture which empowers staff to improve value.  
  2. Staff efforts to improve value are supported by a performance improvement infrastructure that relies on sophisticated clinical and financial business intelligence.  
  3. Contract and risk management capabilities allow for transitioning from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement.

Many healthcare executives indicate the OR, the financial engine of the hospital, as a key area of focus for immediate cost containment and IT investment in order to meet ongoing changes in reimbursements.

 The annual survey is sponsored by Surgical Information Systems, and cites financial performance and quality of patient care as the top two work concerns for executives.  These concerns have consistently been two of the top three work concerns of healthcare executives since SIS first conducted the survey in 2008. Survey results indicate the continued growth in the importance of optimizing perioperative performance with 99 percent of respondents reporting that the success of the perioperative department is either extremely important or important to the success of the hospital.  This metric has increased by 7.6 percent in just the last year.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents are planning or considering perioperative enhancements, with increasing surgical volumes and investing in capital equipment and IT solutions leading the list of projects. Fifty-nine percent of respondents rank the perioperative department as a high or extremely high priority for investing in new IT solutions. By utilizing perioperative information systems, including perioperative-specific analytics, hospitals can optimize the delivery of perioperative services and implement cost control strategies.

Perioperative analytics provide actionable intelligence to support clinical, operational and financial improvement initiatives, offering a window into key business indicators such as capacity, case costs, supply costs, OR utilization and block utilization. This information gives hospital leadership, management and providers the ability to view data and develop action plans to improve operating room processes. This allows hospital administrators to recognize the cost variance between services and surgeons in order to have a clearer picture of what the cost impact of a change could create.