By , Chief Nursing Officer

A preference card is a detailed list of a surgeon’s preferences to complete a particular procedure. Preference cards typically contain needed and requested instrumentation and supplies including suture material, implantable devices, and other physician preference items. Preference cards can provide diagrams and pictures for room set-up, table set-up, and needed equipment.

4 Minute Read | How accurate are the physician preference cards in your OR? A recent survey conducted by Sage Growth Partners of 100 frontline OR nurses and OR leaders found that only 3% said their hospital’s preference cards are always accurate. That means 97% of nurses are dealing with inaccurate preference cards.

View the full survey results in our latest report: A Nurse-Centric Supply Chain: What it Looks Like and Why it’s Fundamental to Your Hospital’s Success

That high rate of inaccuracy takes a significant toll on nurses, patients, and hospitals, with consequences that include:

  • Increased supply and labor costs including labor to pick the case, labor to return unused or unnecessary supplies, inadvertently discarded or contaminated supplies, and open but unused supplies on the back table. Supplies that are picked and on case carts are reserved and unavailable for other needs which can also result in overordering and overstocking.
  • Increased patient safety issues when the circulating nurse is forced to leave the OR to retrieve needed supplies that are not on the preference card. This increases the number of times the OR door is opened which can increase risk for surgical site infections according to research.1 Additionally, the added time it takes to retrieve supplies leads to longer anesthesia time for the patient.
  • Increased procedural costs and reduced OR throughput as operating room time is calculated by blocks of time or by the minute. The extra time that it takes to leave the room to retrieve needed supplies that are not on the preference card result in additional procedural costs and the inability to increase case throughput in the OR.
  • Increased surgeon and staff dissatisfaction resulting from not having supplies, instruments, and equipment readily available. This is a significant cause of dissatisfaction for surgeons as well as circulating nurses.

Accurate Data Leads to Accurate Physician Preference Cards. And That’s a Fact.

Accurate and updated preference cards require accurate data to understand true usage by physician and procedure. Two key ingredients are needed in order to accomplish this:

  1. Fully integrated supply chain management software with barcode scanning at the point-of-use.
  2. Nursing compliance in using the technology needed to capture supply consumption.

With these key ingredients in place, OR leaders can present surgeons with quantitative information (precise and objective data) and begin collaborating on how or if to update preference cards.

Let our team of clinical experts help guide you to optimized preference cards and new standardization opportunities. Click here to learn more and to schedule a virtual preference card demonstration.

  1. 1. Sage Growth Partners Survey of 100 frontline nurses and nurse leaders, February 2021

Lee Smith RNFA, BSN, MBA Chief Nursing Officer

As the Chief Nursing Officer at Syft, Lee is responsible for guiding customers through their implementations of Syft Synergy point-of-use (POU) and analytics solutions to drive efficiencies and expense reductions throughout the perioperative environment. With an extensive clinical background, Lee is instrumental in helping hospital clinical leadership and front-line users understand how to best optimize their Syft Synergy technology investments, improve processes and metrics across the perioperative continuum, and use data insights to improve the performance of operating rooms.

Lee has more than 35 years of experience in health care, including 20 years in supply chain and information technology. She has held leadership positions in hospitals as well as other health care organizations such as Cardinal Health, CareFusion and BD. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a Master of Science degree in Business Administration.

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