Major challenges face today’s healthcare systems around the world. These include workforce retention, patient safety, increasing demand, either from waiting lists or population growth, and tighter budgets. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed these ongoing health system challenges further, creating widening inequalities in health outcomes and variation in care made worse by underfunding of health and social care.
Ultimately, the status quo won’t do and healthcare teams need support. If we are to ensure that healthcare systems are able to cope under these strained conditions, mechanisms must be established to build and scale a resilient medical workforce and find new ways to deliver better care, quicker and more efficiently than ever before.
"If we are to ensure that healthcare systems are able to cope under these strained conditions, mechanisms must be established to build and scale a resilient medical workforce and find new ways to deliver better care, quicker and more efficiently than ever before."
Proximie is committed to being a customer-led solution for optimising efficiency and outcomes in the operating room and to that end, we conducted a series of interviews with senior healthcare stakeholders from the US and UK. Across all the respondents, there was a clear demand for technology that could gather crucial data that can drive better performance. Let’s look at what can be accomplished using a technology like Proximie, before listing the data points that are required to achieve those results.
Recording, tagging and analysing the OR
Through video recording and labelling procedures performed within a current NHS Hospital, Proximie was able to identify that (1):
Some essential data points
Across the board, interviewees identified many data points - a few of which we have focused on here - that are crucial to optimising the efficiency of the OR, but which were almost universally collected manually - a fact which one respondent identified as causing issues with consistency, despite this data being crucial to the workforce and that can help to paint a picture of healthcare delivery and performance.
Automating the collection of the following data points with Proximie frees up time for the workforce to focus on healthcare, while increasing the accuracy and reliability of the data gathered.
Starting on time and having the correct staff available are key barriers to inefficiency, and are areas where data is currently unreliable. Being able to measure this accurately is beneficial, with respondents emphasising the need to streamline workflows, for example, by notifying staff when the OR is turned around, or ensuring that each surgeon has exactly the surgical kits and instruments they require, thereby minimising waste.
Turnaround time was highlighted as key to improving efficiency and keeping running costs - including overtime and inactive turnover time – low. Improving these would have a knock-on effect on the cost per case and block utilisation; factors that would ultimately make hospitals in the US more profitable. Understanding inactive turnover time and variation in care is crucial to driving operational efficiency.
“Understanding inactive turnover time and variation in care is crucial to driving operational efficiency.”
The World Health Organisation Surgical Safety Checklist was developed with the goal of decreasing errors and adverse events, while increasing teamwork and communication in surgery. The checklist is made up of 19 items and has been proven to significantly reduce both morbidity and mortality, and is used by most surgeons around the world. Manual completion of the checklist is time consuming and not necessarily consistent; collecting these data points automatically would both increase efficiency and ensure consistency across all collected data.
Effective monitoring of the number of staff in the OR would provide valuable data for improving efficiency. By recording every action and movement in the OR, Proximie can track ergonomics and provide accurate and timely data retrieval that enables the seamless analysis of all key time periods during a surgical encounter. This enables healthcare organisations to identify applicable lessons and use them in their own change efforts to drive more efficient OR flows in and out of procedures.
Surgical site infection is a major public health problem, and one of the key factors in addressing this issue is minimising the trafﬁc in the OR in order to decrease air and wound contamination. This includes limiting door opening, movements, and the number of persons inside the room during procedures - all of which could be analysed and optimised using data on staff movement tracked through Proximie.
Other focus areas were anesthesia time, ergonomics in the operating room, supply chain and instrumental usage and operation note data, all of which can be tracked and monitored using Proximie's platform.
“Other focus areas were anesthesia time, ergonomics in the operating room, supply chain and instrumental usage and operation note data, all of which can be tracked and monitored using Proximie's platform.”
Proximie: the new standard in healthcare data
Any component of the workflow not operating efficiently negatively impacts overall OR efficiency, and healthcare system stakeholders are united in having identified their need for technological solutions that relieves the workforce from the burden of data collection, while obtaining more accurate data and more valuable insights.
A new model needs to be established that is founded on the principles of equal distribution, dynamic scalability and robust cost efficiency. Technology, digitisation and platforms like Proximie have a crucial role to play in supporting healthcare workforces.
(1) NHS Trust Proximie pilot, January 2023.