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Reducing Cancellations and Optimizing Surgical Scheduling of Ophthalmology Cases at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Dawson, Valerie J.; Margo, Jordan; Blanco, Natalia; Munir, Wuqaas M.

The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ): March/April 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 2 - p 83–90
doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000187
Original Article

ABSTRACT Preventable causes of ophthalmology surgical case cancellations were identified, and interventions were implemented to improve operating room utilization at our Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. A retrospective review of 269 patients with cancellations from 2013 to 2015 was performed. Interventions implemented from September 2014 to March 2015 were evaluated followed by in-depth chart reviews to identify demographics and wait-time intervals. Interventions included scheduling surgeries electronically, by specialty, and with predetermined attending coverage. In addition, the preoperative templates and technology to obtain preoperative measurements were updated. Cancellation rates dropped significantly from 35% to 7% (p = .014). Preventable causes of cancellations decreased from 28% to 5% (p = .005). Operating room utilization increased significantly with 264 more scheduled cases in 2015 than in 2013 (485 vs. 749, p < .001), and surgery wait time trended downward. These findings may support the use of similar interventions at other VA medical centers or similar hospitals with the goal of improving quality of care through decreased cancellations and cost.

For more information on this article, contact Wuqaas M. Munir at

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2019 National Association for Healthcare Quality
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