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Changes in Anesthesia Can Improve Operating Room Efficiency

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As an Anesthesiologist, Dr. Gus Chan helps prepare patients for surgery and monitors them during and after their procedure to ensure success. Gus works with the surgical team in a coordinated manner, with patients moving through each stage and location during pre-surgery preparation, operation and post-surgery recovery. With Royal Jubilee Hospital’s 16 operating rooms, each day is busy and optimizing patient flow is very important.  

Gus saw the opportunity to explore a new way of doing things to improve operating room efficiency - that’s why he joined the Physician Quality Improvement Initiative.

Physician Quality Improvement is the result of collaboration between Doctors of BC, the Ministry of Health and Island Health. Interested physicians sign-up for one year of quality improvement workshops and lead a quality improvement project. These projects are varied - 2017 cohort projects range from early psychosis treatment to the referral process for MAiD. 

Gus, with support from the Surgical Informatics Team, the Post Anesthesia Care Unit and the PQI team, followed the PDSA cycle to Plan, Do, Study and Act on the inefficiencies in the operating room time.

Currently, patients undergo general anesthesia in the operating room and are operated on. For his PQI project, Gus modelled patient flow if there were a “block room” where patients were administered regional anesthesia (a nerve block) prior to being brought into the operating room. Patients recover quicker from the regional anesthesia and do not spend as much time in the operating room.

Gus’s project showed that an anesthesia block room would save between 2.25 and 3 hours of operating room time per day and 5.5 hours of post anesthesia care unit time per day. These time savings will allow two to three more patients to be operated on each day.

While more work needs to be done to establish anesthesia block rooms at Island Health, Gus’s PQI project has clearly demonstrated the benefits.

Medical staff interested in PQI should contact PQI manager, Carolyn Carlson PQI@viha.ca for more information. Medical staff are always encouraged to reach out about potential projects.

For more information, please see the PQI page on the medical staff website.