Enhanced Surgical Processes: An Update from the Vice Chair of Procedural Services

Jonathan B. Ida, MD, FACSProcedural Services at Lurie Children’s has been undergoing several changes in the last year, which are aimed at making the future better for our patients, families, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and staff. Ultimately, the team in procedural services is working very hard to ensure an excellent experience for families, while also supporting all of the institution’s Vision 2025 goals:

  • Enhancing efficiency and ensuring safety;
  • Providing the opportunity to boost volumes and to expand surgical offerings;
  • Engaging surgeons and anesthesiologists to develop our systems and processes;
  • Supporting surgical specialization in key areas to grow subspecialized programs to become a destination for families facing difficult challenges.

The Procedural Council

The Procedural Council has become a highly engaged meeting in which representatives throughout the spectrum of procedural services have the opportunity to bring systematic concerns, and to openly discuss matters pertinent to care delivery and operating room (OR) functions. All divisions that perform procedures in the 5th through 7th floors have representatives on the Procedural Council and these representatives then work with their divisions to facilitate communication, support improvement projects, and gather feedback. Recently, Quality Improvement and Process Improvement personnel have joined the Procedural Council, broadening the capabilities of the group to plan and implement improvement initiatives. Additionally, many divisions have established regular meetings with OR nursing and scrub tech staff, as well as administrative leadership, providing a forum for division-specific improvement and troubleshooting.

Projects to Streamline Care

Through the Procedural Council and its affiliated subcommittees, multiple projects have been undertaken to streamline delivery of care, ensure patient privacy, adjust equipment management processes, and improve the way patients and families move through our facilities.

  • Several divisions are evaluating their surgical trays to better standardize them, a condition that supports quality improvement and can make equipment processing more consistent and less expensive.
  • The Pre-operative and Post-operative nursing staff developed and implemented a novel plan for movement of families through the perioperative space, providing a better experience for families.
  • OR leadership has revamped the training program for nursing and scrub tech staff, and is currently analyzing team needs in the OR to better staff our ever-expanding surgical offerings in procedural spaces.
  • The PFE subcommittee is partnering with Information Management (IM) to evaluate possible uses of MyChart to enhance consistency and adherence to instructions in the days prior to and following surgery.
  • The Throughput subcommittee has embarked on a project to develop a more consistent process for transferring patients from the inpatient floors and emergency room to the ORs in a timely manner.
  • We are gradually implementing a consistent process for rooming families post-operatively, ensuring that they are available for post-op discussions in a consistent, private place for these discussions.

What’s Next

In the coming months we will be looking at several opportunities to improve efficiency in the OR and perioperative spaces. Several OR policies will be reviewed and revamped, and data tracking tools are being evaluated to provide better, more reliable information about our work, providing the necessary framework for process improvement. This information will also be readily shared throughout procedural services, offering transparency regarding our efforts and our progress. We look forward to continued partnerships among surgeons, anesthesiology, and OR staff, to continue to build a cohesive team with a unified vision.

Jonathan B. Ida, MD, FACS
Vice Chair of Procedural Services, Department of Surgery
Attending Physician, Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Medical Director, Speech and Language Services
Medical Director, Aerodigestive Program
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine