Case Study: UNC Health Care - Perioperative Improvements Reduce Cost and Improve Efficiency
The University of North Carolina Health Care (UNC HC) System is a state-wide integrated healthcare system composed of eight hospitals, the faculty practice, a community provider network and The UNC School of Medicine. Between 2014 and 2017, UNC HC partnered with Huron to design and execute the Carolina Value Program, a multiyear, systemwide transformation effort that united UNC as a system and achieved hundreds of millions of dollars in financial benefit for UNC HC.
UNC HC leadership sought to improve perioperative excellence and reduce costs by fostering system-wide collaboration, improving operational efficiency and optimizing labor management. An enhanced perioperative accountability structure was needed to drive and sustain strong outcomes and continual improvement across the system.
UNC HC partnered with Huron to implement a systemwide perioperative transformation initiative addressing operational efficiency, workforce productivity and governance. Collaboration with local perioperative leaders ensured approaches were customized to meet each hospital’s unique challenges and needs. This allowed the plan to be successful in a variety of environments: community hospital or academic/tertiary medical center, adult, pediatric, urban and rural. Implementing standards-based practices at the eight entities led to $15.2 million in recurring annual benefit in less than one year.
Optimizing operational efficiency: Huron collaborated with UNC HC’s IT team and perioperative analysts to standardize metrics and automate reporting. Performance monitoring dashboards were created to achieve process improvements, collaboration and accountability.
Huron also supported the creation and implementation of consistent scheduling and block policies across the system. These initiatives improved case duration accuracy and operating room (OR) block utilization, release and management policies. Significant increases in prime time utilization resulted in more than 226,000 surgical minutes (1,600 cases) created. This was equivalent to 5 percent growth at UNC Hospitals and 2 percent growth at UNC Rex Hospital.
Increasing productivity:Huron’s engagement team worked with frontline managers to help analyze and develop labor management tools to provide proactive and real-time leadership decision support. This resulted in $2.4 million in annually recurring savings and more efficient operations during prime hours.
Establishing a systemwide accountability structure:Huron and UNC collaborated to develop a multitiered governance structure to ensure a strong foundation for continued improvement and growth. The structure is centered on a system-level perioperative roundtable, which monitors operational and productivity metrics, promotes the sharing of best practices, provides system-level support and holds entity leaders accountable for achieving goals. This structure ensured sustainment of the initial scope of work and enables the team to handle more complex initiatives requiring collaboration with other areas of the system.Download Now