News | August 21, 2009

Moffitt Cancer Center Improves Capacity with GE Performance Program

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute (Moffitt)

Moffitt Cancer Center engaged in the GE Healthcare Performance Solutions team to improve work and enable additional capacity.
The project enabled the center to identify operating room (OR) workflow issues, including predictable scheduling, on-time starts, and increasing room turnover.

As a team they found significant unused capacity in a surgical department that handles a very high volume of complex procedures. In less than eight months, Moffitt has added capacity for 900 new cancer procedures and additional operating margin.

“Providing cancer patients with timely access to care is critical,” said Braulio Vicente, senior vice president and hospital chief operating officer of Moffitt Cancer Center. “It’s why we took on this project. By becoming more efficient in the delivery of OR services, we can get patients scheduled sooner, prevent backlogs, and more easily accommodate add-on cases.”

Freeing up capacity will enable a 12 percent increase in procedural volume, which translates to around $8M annually in incremental margin, according to Vicente. With the workflow efficiencies gained, Moffitt is also on track to decrease OR staff overtime by one-third, for an estimated savings of more than $100K a year, he says.

Moffitt Cancer Center is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers. In 2009, Moffitt was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best hospitals for the treatment of cancer, the 11th consecutive year it has achieved that recognition. More than 48,000 patients are treated at Moffitt each year and approximately 8,100 surgical procedures performed.

The hospital engaged the GE Healthcare Performance Solutions team to reconfigure the surgical block schedule and improve key OR processes so they could use their existing facility and staff resources more effectively. Using sophisticated computer modeling, best practices for effective governance, and Lean performance improvement techniques the GE consultants were able to help Moffitt in key areas:

- Unlock hidden capacity in the surgical schedule. Aided by GE’s Block Optimizer technology, a more efficient surgical block schedule was created, enabling earlier patient scheduling and emergency prioritization. In the month of June, this resulted in 106 incremental procedures and increased OR utilization from 69% to 79%.
- Improve on-time starts. By redesigning operational processes, Moffitt improved first-case on-time starts from 13% to 72% in just a few months. “We’ve not only gained capacity to do more cases, we’ve seen physician and staff satisfaction levels increase because of more efficient workflow,” says Vicente.
The center was eventually able to free capacity of 900 patients and sustain improvements.
Based on the patient flow improvements achieved in the first months of operation, Vicente believes that Moffitt is on track to gain more than 3,000 additional hours of applied operating room time and $8 million in incremental direct margin within the first year.

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