The OR at one 318-bed community hospital in the Mid-Atlantic was experiencing turmoil which led them to contract Compass Clinical Consulting for assistance. Unstable leadership and employee turnover had led to low morale, confusion about responsibilities, and multiple efficiency issues. The hospital retained Compass Clinical Consulting to provide an interim Patient Care Director of Surgical Services to stabilize the department and develop internal leadership capabilities.

Communication Barrier

Initial observation of the surgical services department revealed that ineffective, unclear communication among departmental leaders and staff was hindering efficiency and success. Immediately, the Compass Interim Patient Care Director of Surgical Services began to work with managers—in groups and on a one-to-one basis—to improve communication between staff, departmental leaders, and physicians.

Solution: Improved Collaboration

Department roles were clarified to enhance understanding and smooth processes between department members, and managers were mentored on effective leadership techniques. To stabilize staffing and decrease turnover, the Interim hired 19 FTEs, and eliminated agency staff in the OR, saving $140,000. The Interim and surgical services team adjusted the block schedule and revised OR utilization time, resulting in a 7% improvement in utilization. In addition, the Interim Director worked to increase case volume by collaborating with surgeons to meet their needs and assigning more block time when needed.

Results: Increased Productivity

Resulting from the Interim Director’s successful efforts to enhance communication and implement processes, the productivity in the OR reached 105%. The availability of OR rooms improved, on-time starts for first cases increased by over 30%, and case volume increased by 25 cases per month. The hospital’s Chief Operating Officer was extremely satisfied with the work of the Interim Patient Care Director of Surgical Services:

“We were very pleased with the results and service. The Interim leader Compass provided was absolutely wonderful and exceeded our expectations. We will certainly contact Compass again when we have interim leadership needs.”

The Interim Director’s attention to areas that needed help and directive action steps in response allowed leaders and staff in the surgical services department to mitigate issues, improve communication, and create smoother processes to increase productivity, while maintaining safe, quality patient care.