As a young person entering the Air Force, working as an operating room manager, my goal was to learn as much as I could about a doctor’s work and the operation impacting it.

After four years of college at one of the best universities in the U.S., I completed an Executive Master’s in Health Administration (EMHA) and became a consultant. My challenge at an older age with limited Microsoft Office skills was learning the analytics. I taught myself Excel, PowerPoint, and Word through my consulting experience, and I learned clinical operations and supply chain operations data analytics techniques that changed how I viewed operations.

Ultimately, you need both skillsets––clinical operations and project management data analysis­­––to handle challenging supply chain operations environments to structure the turnaround in a manner that complements the change pathway. I led four turnarounds–one for the Air Force and three for hospital supply chains after leaving consulting. For a leader in these situations, it’s important to look at the person and not just the resume when considering a candidate for a new and unfamiliar role. Your ideal candidate brings a fresh perspective and enough personality to drive results. Here I illustrate how I turned around these operations through step-by-step processes using the clinical operations and project management data analysis skillsets which I learned in consulting. 

Later, I will show some similarities to consider, which I have found in each turnaround situation. Conclusions on how to think and what to look for, when in a turnaround situation can be pulled from such findings. 

Case Study 1: U.S. Air Force

Situation analysis

The situation was an Air Force four operating room/one cysto room surgical suite operating at 20-25 cases per day. Cancelled cases and delays plagued the operating room daily. Physicians were tired of not having adequate supplies, equipment, and trained staff ready for cases to meet their case volume.

  • Step 1. Selecting service lines with delays and cancellations, all preference cards were edited by doctors for missing items and quantities in a series of meetings. Products missing from support cases were purchased and stocked in the next week. Supplies were labeled and consolidated by surgical specialty outside bulk stock areas for case cart picking.

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Author: Charles Taylor