Date: December 4, 2012
Jackie Martin took a somewhat circuitous route to his current role as director of perioperative services. He completed his residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1987 and, until recently, had spent his entire professional life as a Hopkins’ cardiac anesthesiologist, rising through the ranks to become professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine. Through his years spent in cardiac operating rooms, Martin developed a powerful interest in improving not only patient care, but also increasing the efficiency with which it’s provided. So when the opportunity to lead perioperative services arose, it seemed like a perfect chance to cultivate that interest into a profession.
How did your anesthesiology experience inspire your interest in perioperative care?
As an anesthesiologist, you have the chance to watch surgeons and understand the challenges they’re dealing with, along with nursing and anesthesia. By bringing all of these groups together, we can make things work better for everyone.
What are some of the issues you’re tackling?
Right now we’re examining things like workflow, certain processes and how we can best use the personnel we have and get quality outcomes, all while doing it more efficiently. I want to understand why we do things a certain way and bring people together to address certain challenges, for instance, getting cases started on time, looking at patient turnover times and making sure we have the right teams in place.
Consider patient flow: Often, we have patients scheduled for surgery whose cases might be disrupted by incoming more urgent cases. We have different streams of patients competing for the same resource. It’s very inefficient, causing frustration for patients and staff. So we’ve separated cases so that 80 percent of our rooms are reserved for scheduled patients, 10 percent are for urgent and emergency cases and 10 percent are reserved for last-minute work-in cases.
What are some of the challenges you face as the new director?
Well, a lot of people here have been doing this for a long time, and they get comfortable having learned to do things a certain way. So sometimes we have to convince them to change their approach, using data-driven analytics and best practices. That’s a huge cultural shift.
What are the benefits of this “cultural shift”?
We’re taking a more global look at how we deliver care and serve our patients and staff. For instance, surgeons often want to use a new device because they read about it or saw an interesting presentation about it. So you end up with a lot of people using a lot of different things. But now we have a structure set up that takes a closer look at the devices people want to bring into the hospital. It’s a value-based decision about whether it will add something for the patients we all care for.