Supply management improvements a key change for Operating Room

Kanban - 2013 feb (2)

With an annual supply budget that exceeds $3 million, the Victoria Hospital Operating Room was a good fit for one of the Region’s first Kanban events.

The changes made in how they manage supplies, reordering and inventory are already noticeable, said Lesia Balicki, Nursing Unit Manager.

“Managing our supplies is very important,”

Balicki said.

“Our focus is on our patients, but in order to ensure safe, quality health care, we also spend a lot of time managing our supplies.”

The Kanban event was held in February. The Operating Room team included OR staff along with others from the Region. The event looked at only two of the supply carts, which included almost 1,000 different items with a value of more than $4,800. It took nursing staff about two and half hours a day to do inventory, reordering and

Kanban looked at how much of each item was used (usually daily), how often they could be restocked, and worked on a system that would resupply those two carts without requiring nursing staff to reorder. Materials Management plays a key role in the supply management process, and with the change to a bin system that has an automatic reordering process, the nursing staff now spend zero time managing the supplies.

“There is a big difference in our supply room,”

Balicki said.

“We are working on how to spread Kanban to the rest of our supplies. It is something where our staff really see the differences in using Lean.”

The Surgical Value Stream has been a focus for improvements, in order to support the goal of having no patients waiting more than three months for surgery by March 31, 2014. This has led to several Lean improvement events occurring the Operating Room, including a Mistake Proofing Project for anesthetic medications, and Rapid Process Improvement Workshops on patient flow and operating room turnover time. Balicki said that some of the changes have been more challenging to implement, and there have been a few detours along the way. However, she said the staff members have been welcoming of the opportunity to see how they can be better, even if sometimes the pace of change can be a challenge.

“We have always been looking at how we can change our work to be better,”

Balicki said.

“Whether it is best practices and new techniques for a surgical procedure, or now looking at how we can be more efficient, effective and safe and improve the patient experience.”

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