Financial Incentive Improved Operating Room Efficiency

Dr. Thomas M. Scalea, MD R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Program in Trauma University of Maryland School of Medicine, BaltimoreMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Thomas M. Scalea, MD
R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Program in Trauma
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

Medical Research: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. Scalea:  The main findings of the study was that putting this financial incentive program in place had immediate and dramatic effects on first cases starting on time and turnaround times decreasing in our operating room.

This PI program paid huge dividends and the improvements continue to today. In some ways, this should have not been a surprise. We know that PI works and that moving away from an individual to focusing on a process almost always improves performance.

However, the moneys involved were so small that I was surprised that the results were as dramatic as we found. Frankly, the nursing leaders Melissa Reece and Darlene Carco were sure this would work. The doctors, Andy Pollak, Yvette Fouche and I were less convinced. They clearly were on target. I believe this again demonstrates the value of harnessing a team. Trauma is the perfect Team Sport. By extension, a Trauma operating is also where teamwork shines. These results may be skewed as all we do is trauma and critical illness.

Operating rooms that do more elective cases may not have as impressive results. Their times may be far better than ours to start. However, the concepts seem sound and are likely translatable to operating roomss in all academic medical centers.

Citation:

Scalea TM, Carco D, Reece M, Fouche YL, Pollak AN, Nagarkatti SS. Effect of a Novel Financial Incentive Program on Operating Room Efficiency. JAMA Surg. Published online August 06, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.1233.