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Left to right are Herbert F. Lewis, PhD, of Stony Brook University's College of Business; Kenneth Rosenfeld, MD, Medical Director of the Operating Room at Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH); Melissa A. Dolan, MS, Director of Lean in SBUH's Continuous Quality Improvement Department; and Thomas R. Sexton, PhD, of Stony Brook University's College of Business. Together they created an algorithm to optimize the allocation of Operating Room time among the hospital's 15 surgical specialties, based on each unit's need for OR access and a “benefit factor” for each. Their groundbreaking work won national acclaim when it received the Advisory Board Company's Excellence in Innovation Award.
Award also recognizes supply chain initiative that decreases costs by $2 million annually

Stony Brook University has garnered national recognition for its innovative efforts to improve the efficiency of Operating Room block time scheduling at Stony Brook University Hospital, and for a supply-chain cost reduction initiative that saves the hospital $2 million annually Faced with frustrating scheduling overlap and room requests for the 30 Operating Rooms for inpatients and outpatients at SBUH, Kenneth Rosenfeld, MD, Medical Director of the Operating room at SBUH, reached out to faculty experts in the Stony Brook University College of Business to ask for assistance in coming up with an algorithm that would optimize the allocation of Operating Room time among the hospital’s 15 surgical specialties, based on each unit’s need for OR access and a “benefit factor” for each. He worked with Thomas R. Sexton, PhD, and Herbert F. Lewis, PhD, faculty members in Stony Brook University’s College of Business, experts on productivity and efficiency theory and analysis, and Melissa A. Dolan, MS, Director of Lean in SBUH’s Continuous Quality Improvement Department. Together they developed a mathematical model that determines how much time to allocate to each surgical unit in order to meet each specialty’s needs while maximizing total benefit to the hospital. “We developed an innovative approach to block scheduling that balanced the institution’s mission to serve the community’s highest priority healthcare needs with the goal of operating as efficiently as possible,” said Dr. Rosenfeld. “We can now assure that the likelihood of completing all scheduled elective surgical cases within the allocated blocks of time is maximized by accounting for past performance and variation.” Dr. Rosenfeld foresees it as just the beginning of collaborative efforts between the hospital and the business school in the future. The group’s work was supported by the hospital’s Senior Executive Group, which evaluated the benefit of each surgical service, said Carol Gomes, MS, FACHE, CPHQ, Interim Chief Operating Officer. The leadership team took into consideration the hospital’s strategic priorities for providing cancer care, cardiac care, neurosurgical care and women’s and children’s services, she said. They also examined community needs and services that Stony Brook provides exclusively in Suffolk County, such as burn care and pediatric dentistry.

“It was a delicate balancing act to weigh community need, hospital mission and revenue,” Gomes said. “We examined historical usage of the Operating Rooms, and adjustments were made based on the Planning Department’s projections for potential increases in demand in the future.” In another move to improve efficiency in the Operating Room, a supply chain initiative achieved savings of $2 million annually in expenditures on surgical implants and supplies through a collaboration between team members and surgeons – savings which can be reinvested in new state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to meet patient needs, said Mary Catalano, BS, CASC, Administrative Director for Perioperative Services. A multi-disciplinary Supply Value Team spearheaded the initiative The supply chain and OR scheduling initiatives benefit patients by reducing costs and by improving access to surgical services for patients and surgeons, allowing the hospital to increase the number of procedures performed to better meet community demand, Catalano said. The two projects were recognized with the Advisory Board Company’s Excellence in Innovation Award, which was presented to SBUH on Oct. 2 at the Advisory Board’s annual Surgical Profitability Compass National Meeting in Washington D.C. The Advisory Board Company is a global research, technology, and consulting firm that partners with 150,000 leaders in more than 3,700 organizations across healthcare and higher education nationwide. Headquartered in Washington, DC, it serves more than 3,100 healthcare clients, providing insight and guidance on healthcare issues to more than 140,000 healthcare members.

“Our collaboration with the Advisory Board enables us to network with peers, learn of best practices that we can emulate, gain knowledge of new technology and how it should be applied,” Catalano said. Now Stony Brook’s project is among those best practices being shared by the Advisory Board with other hospitals across the country. “We are very excited to be honored for our achievements and to receive national recognition from the Advisory Board,” said L. Reuven Pasternak, MD, Vice President for Health Systems and Chief Executive Officer for Stony Brook University Hospital. “This team effort represents the best that academic medical centers have to offer in terms of collaborating and cooperating across institutional boundaries to achieve a fantastic result.”

About Stony Brook University Hospital:
Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) is Long Island’s premier academic medical center. With 597 beds, SBUH serves as the region’s only tertiary care center and Level 1 Trauma Center, and is home to the Stony Brook Heart Institute, Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital, Stony Brook Neurosciences Institute, and Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute. SBUH also encompasses Suffolk County’s only Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center, state-designated AIDS Center, state-designated Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, state-designated Burn Center, the Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence, and Kidney Transplant Center. It is home of the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. To learn more, visit www.stonybrookmedicine.edu.

About Stony Brook University’s College of Business:
Stony Brook University’s College of Business (SBUCoB) is a leading business school emphasizing cutting edge business research and offering both undergraduate business education and two MBA programs. Research foci are on innovation, entrepreneurship, and healthcare management; the educational focus is on experiential learning. Students come from the local metropolitan New York community, as well as from countries around the globe. The College of Business provides comprehensive education that combines classroom, real-world learning, and research for the business, public, and nonprofit sectors. Programs are taught by senior Stony Brook faculty with decades of experience. They are complemented by key executives recruited as visiting professors from throughout the tri-state region – industry leaders who have built stellar careers in today’s global business world. Both MBA and undergraduate students complete the College’s programs as leaders ready to take on the complex challenges of the business world. To learn more, visit http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/business/.
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