When an industry or work place wants to improve performance – they must look outside of their own institution to do so. Often, we look to other, similar institutions for best practices – they can be great examples. One hospital might look to another hospital for examples of efficiency or great patient care. But then, you can only be as good as the best hospital. What if you want to be better?
When health care professionals want to know just how good they can be – they look beyond other health care systems.
I recently heard about a local hospital comparing their Operating Room turnaround practices to the pit crews at NASCAR.
Apparently, this comparison is so tried, they consider it cliché in the health care industry, but to me it’s an inspirational example of benchmarking.
Consider it. NASCAR pit crews train to maintain or repair a vehicle in under ten minutes. They do it by isolating duties, and then combine those duties with cooperation. One guy jacks up the car and removes a tire, another worker puts on the replacement tire and lug nuts. Order, attention and speed.
Not dissimilar from workers who clean an operating room between surgeries. It’s a messy job. Hazardous materials must be disposed of properly, surgical instruments accounted for and cleaned, and the room thoroughly disinfected. In most hospitals, they are aiming for a ten-minute turnaround, just like the pit crew.
As a result, many hospitals bundle the OR supplies, then once the room is cleaned, the bundle is unfurled and the division of duties ensues: the surgical technician drapes the instrument table, a nurse opens sterile supplies while another nurse sets up the prep table then leaves to collect the next patient. (source)
Done with exact precision and preparedness, the time between surgeries is minimal, and each operation can start on time.
Hospitals also employ standards from Ritz Carlton Hotels, and Disneyland – as models of guest service. That’s quite a leap from the mantra of “Thinking Outside the Box” to really stretching one’s concept of learning from the leaders in all industries.
Tell us how your company or start-up benchmarks against other BESTS in the business.