A Secret Recipe for an Appetizing Perioperative Experience

Remember when Uncle Pete visited for Thanksgiving and insisted on helping prepare the family meal?

You’d love the help, but what you didn’t expect was a flood of time-consuming questions.

“Where do you keep your flour?”

How long did you say to bake this?”

“Where do you hide the mixing bowls?”

“What do you mean I can’t put foil in the microwave?”

Uncle Pete means well and is a whiz in his own kitchen, but without clearly documented instructions to help guide him in unfamiliar territory, he may not be as effective.

During Perioperative Nursing Week November 10th – 16th, we recognize the amazing work performed by these heroes of the surgical unit. Perioperative Nurses are tasked with a wide range of responsibilities all throughout the surgery patient’s journey. They play important roles before surgery, in the operating room (OR), and throughout recovery.

In some instances, during peak times and especially around the holidays, hospitals may ask perioperative nurses from outside their facility to lend a helping hand. None of these healthcare professionals placed in this position or otherwise are Uncle Pete, but often they come across the same challenge—spending too much time searching for information they need.

MEDHOST built an intuitive preference card system into its perioperative solution to support the perioperative workflow, help surgical units optimize their time, and accurately prepare clinicians for procedures.

Surgical Procedures Call for a Heaping Spoonful of Efficiency

Towards the end of the year as people rush to meet their deductibles, surgical units can become packed—which adds stress on clinicians in the OR. In addition to bringing on auxiliary staff, one of the best ways ORs can help ensure safe and efficient care is through the use of preference cards.

An article in General Surgery News (GSN) explains that building a culture focused on keeping preference cards up-to-date and relevant can help improve patient safety and lower costs. The preference card function built into MEDHOST Perioperative Experience is designed to help hospitals and surgical centers follow through on that same commitment to safe and cost-efficient care.

For example, Kali Harrell, Aspen Mountain Medical Center Surgical Manager says features like preference cards help her team become more efficient in surgeries. With instructions laid out days before a procedure, Aspen clinicians can more easily provide patient-centered care, pre- and post-operation.

“Rather than worrying how many clicks we are making in an EHR, we are able to work more nurse-to-patient instead of nurse-to-computer,” adds Harrell.

A Guideline for the Sous Chef of the OR

Preference cards are often referred to as surgical preference or physician cards, but they are a key tool for perioperative nurses as well. Easily accessible and updated OR “recipe cards” can help perioperative clinicians in one of their chief responsibilities as support personnel for surgeons.

Perioperative preference cards include a helpful “shopping list” of the surgical materials needed for operations and where they can be located in the OR. Perioperative Experience also includes a space to append special instructions for each surgery item to help clarify materials lists upfront and support patient billing for the business office.

Unlike a paper system—something more indicative of Uncle Pete’s recipe box—the MEDHOST preference card system is accessible online via the cloud. As a way to keep cards current, clinicians are notified to fill out or update preference cards once a case is scheduled. Upon notification, nurses can easily build out cards according to procedures and surgeon’s penchants. Completed cards can also be saved in a centralized location for easy retrieval.

A mistake in the OR can have serious ramifications. By implementing an online platform to easily manage preference cards hospitals can save time, reduce mistakes, and cut down on waste to provide a better surgical experience for both patients and clinicians.

For more information on our suite of clinical tools visit our website or call us at, 1.800.383.6278.

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