AORN Blog - The Periop Life

1 Key to Demonstrate Your OR Financial Know-How


The Periop Life - 1 Key to Demonstrate Your OR Financial Know-How

February 28, 2020

Most perioperative business plans fail or are rejected because they don’t clearly articulate all aspects of the financial equation with questions such as: What is it going to cost? How will it affect reimbursement? What is the impact on patient care? How is that impact quantified?   

Nurse leaders may be more comfortable answering the clinical questions of the plan but understanding of the financial side of a business plan is needed in the evolving role perioperative nurse leaders play today. That’s according to Randy Heiser, MA, the president of Sullivan Healthcare Consulting with more than 20 years’ experience improving OR efficiency and business success.

Historically, perioperative nurses were not expected to understand or participate in “business” decisions, he notes. “When a surgical program needed new supplies, technology, programs or facilities, it was often based entirely on what the surgeons wanted instead of what makes financial sense to do.”

This reality is no more with cost and revenue pressures forcing OR leaders to become much more business oriented.  

This increasing need for perioperative business sense is becoming required not only for perioperative nurse directors but also for perioperative team leaders who are more frequently asked to provide financial details such as developing a cost justification for a new tray or piece of equipment. 

So which financial decisions are the right decisions for a sound plan? An effective business plan is often in the eyes of the beholder, Heiser says. For example, if the plan supports the purchase than it was effective from the perspective of those who wanted the investment. If the plan shows no financial justification, it’s not effective in the view of many of the stakeholders.   

The key to making a business plan truly effective is basing it on objective and evidence-based problem statements regarding why the investment is needed, how it will impact the patient and how much will it cost, he advises. “A clear problem statement sets the tone for the entire business plan … if it’s not on point, a business plan could fail.”

That’s why a nurse’s first step in being prepared to contribute to an effective business plan for their OR is knowing the difference between an objective and not-so objective problem statement. Heiser gives these examples …

Not-Objective: We need more ORs because we don’t have any more blocks to give to new surgeons.

Objective: We need more ORs because the current rooms are at 85% utilization during the day, our case times are efficient, and our volume continues to grow at 3% per year and there will be no daytime capacity left in nine months.

Get more OR business advice from Heiser during his talk on Critical Elements of Business Plan Development during the Leadership Summit at AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

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