The impact of benchmarking operating room efficiency within the Veterans Health Administration

Marilyn Lynn, Douglas Bronson, William Gunnar


Purpose: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides surgical care and services through a network of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Surgical Programs. This study examined the impact of benchmarking on improvements in VHA surgery program operating room efficiency.

Methods: The VA National Surgery Office (NSO) developed the operating room (OR) Efficiency Matrix with four common metrics that characterize OR processes. The OR Efficiency Matrix assigned a performance level to each VHA Surgery Program identified in the NSO Quarterly Report. The NSO Quarterly Report provided ongoing and regular feedback allowing VHA Surgery Programs to develop action plans and improve performance.

Results: Beginning with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Quarter (Q) 2 NSO Quarterly Report, the NSO has been reporting to VHA Surgery Programs on the OR Efficiency Matrix through several tables and figures in the NSO Quarterly Report. Overall, raw metric rates have improved nationally, with most improvements coming in the metrics of OR first time starts and surgical case cancellation.

Conclusions: The NSO developed and implemented the OR Efficiency Matrix, representing four well recognized metrics, to assess, track, and report OR efficiency at 137 VHA Surgery Programs. This internal benchmarking process and data reporting was associated with sustainable improvements in OR efficiency over time.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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