Amanda Akers

Interview: Tufts Medical Center Transforms Surgeon Preference Cards

Susan Lewis, RN, BSN, is the Clinical Informatics Nurse Manager for Perioperative Services at Tufts Medical Center.

Tufts Medical Center is an internationally respected academic medical center focused on delivering the highest quality care to all patients. U.S. News & World Report ranks many of Tufts’ physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally, and the hospital is dedicated to reimagining healthcare.

What were the challenges you were facing prior to adopting PrefTech OR?

Our operating rooms were suffering due to the lack of a defined process for our preference card management. Changes to surgeon preference cards were inconsistent, and change requests frequently lacked the necessary information to make informed decisions on how to update our preference cards. Furthermore, there was no defined method for making these requests – sometimes they would come by word of mouth, sometimes email, or even hand-written notes. There was no standardization for the workflow required to clean and maintain our preference cards across service lines. As a result, our physicians were constantly frustrated, and our on-time starts and turnover times were very poor. We wanted to find ways to increase our case volume – we scored under the 50th percentile compared to like facilities. We were anxious to get our process sorted out, so we needed a quick and simple solution.

Why did you choose PrefTech as your preference card management solution?

One of our senior leaders recommended a software solution rather than just trying to clean up the manual process. Our staff was excited about using a new approach, so we decided to dive in. Our OR leaders met with the representatives from PrefTech, and we were able to identify that this was the solution we were looking for.

What was adoption like?

Adoption was a one-time process with our IT team – it took about 40 hours of resources and 60 days to fully implement. After that, we were able to get a baseline assessment and opportunity reports so we could start seeing where we could make improvements. Once PrefTech was implemented, we found that we had over 1200 recommendations that spanned across over 100 preference cards in our system. By ranking the number of recommendations per card, we were also able to see which cards and service lines needed priority, and we had a clear roadmap for how to clean up our cards and make our ORs much more efficient. Our team found the software easy and intuitive to use.

How has PrefTech solved your challenges?

PrefTech took a task that seemed completely overwhelming and broke it down so that it was not only doable, but also gave us measurable results. Overall, we decreased our return costs by nearly 70% in one year, and we estimated $2M in hard savings over the past four years, including $1.2M in waste reduction and $800,000 in overstock reduction. We also reduced turnover times by an average of 10 minutes, and we recorded a 30% increase in physician satisfaction. We were able to tighten our workflow, and we found advantages for the service line leads, the OR business director, and our surgeons. Our VP of supply chain also embraces the tool, and we look forward to continued progress towards standardizing our supplies across service lines.

Closing: Amanda Akers

PrefTech is the nation’s leading provider of Preference Card Management (PCM) software. If your hospital is looking for a modern and effective way to fix and maintain surgeon preference cards, contact us to learn about how PrefTech can improve efficiency, cut supply costs, and help standardize supplies for your ORs.