Date of Defense



Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Larry Mallak

Second Advisor

Dr. Azim Houshyar


This project was based on the belief that operating room (OR) turnover time could be reduced in a southwest Michigan hospital. Hospital administrators predicated the need for turnover time reduction on perceived turnover time shortcomings. Ultimately, the southwest Michigan hospital wished to decrease turnover time, so as to effect a cost savings to the hospital as a whole. Several engineering tools were applied to this problem. Time study, simulation, benchmarking, flowcharts, Pareto analysis, economic cost analysis and force field analysis were all used to study the problem of excessive OR turnover time. While all these tools were used, all did not prove effective. Time study and simulation were tried, but were not applicable due to a non-standardized turnover procedure. It was through the trial and error application of these tools that key insights were gained. The most important finding was that OR turnover time is dependent on many variables that are not based in the OR such as instrument reprocessing, surgeon lateness and staff availability. It was found that missing instruments and surgeon lateness alone cost the southwest Michigan Hospital over $275,000 annually. Secondly, it was found that it was impossible to quantify turnover times at the southwest Michigan hospital due to the lack of a standardized turnover procedure and the presence of many variables in the process. This is a major problem when trying to reduce turnover time because it is impossible to determine a baseline time that can be used to measure changes against. One of the first priorities at the southwest Michigan hospital should be the implementation of a standardized turnover procedure. This would allow process improvements to either be accepted or discarded based on quantifiable turnover time reductions. Once the OR turnover procedure is standardized, an OR turnover team should then be put in place. The OR turnover team consists of individuals dedicated strictly to the task of OR turnover and an associated advisory panel. What is more, surgeon lateness must be dealt with to reduce a cost to the southwest Michigan Hospital of over $225,000. With such a large cost, a positive reinforcement of type surgeon rewards program is feasible. Finally, further work must be done in the Reprocessing department to optimize the department's function. Optimization would come in the form of a new computerized inventory system to replace the manual inventory system currently in place.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only