Congratulations—you have achieved management level in your hospital’s CS department!  With the obvious benefit of being recognized as a leader by your peers comes the oftentimes difficult work of shouldering the responsibility for the work of a collection of people, not just your own.
Easily the most talked about aspect of management is people—hiring, training and retaining a good staff is critical to success and these activities could fill the majority of your day.  But effectiveness as a manager is more than just being a good ‘people’ manager.  The department (and hospital!) is counting on you to effectively lead your group with excellence.  This article discusses one area that is often overlooked in CS management—data & measurement.
As a CS manager, how do you know you are doing a good job?  Or said differently, how do you know that your department is succeeding?  Ultimately, it comes down to results-  how your department is contributing to the overall goals of the hospital.  Typically, CS department goals consist of cost containment/optimization, compliance and contribution to OR readiness.   For each of these areas, a CS manager should create performance metrics to clearly measure the department’s impact.
Cost containment/optimization is usually worked in conjunction with the hospital’s Supply Chain function.  Adherence to budget is an important consideration, but the enlightened hospital will also factor in other aspects of performance like the number of positive ROI capital projects a manager has led and ratio-based productivity measures (like number of surgical cases supported per staffer).  Going beyond just managing the budget can open the door to solving problems creatively (and showing maximum value).
Compliance is another area that begs for measurement.  While there is universal agreement that following infection control guidelines is a critical component of CS effectiveness, setting up data points to measure compliance is less frequently done.  Measurement in this area could consist of compliance input items (like percentage of IFU’s on file and accessible to all staff and number of in-service training hours focused on compliance) as well as output items (like number of OR patient infections and percentage of trays with improper wrapping).  The effective CS manager will set up and use such data points to not only get a handle on the functioning of the department, but also to track the department’s progress over time.
Lastly, a measurement system should be put in place to monitor the CS department’s contribution to OR readiness.  This measures can be as simple as a catalogue of the number of OR delays caused by instrumentation.  The idea behind this measure is that the CS department needs to effectively work through all of the many things that can lead to preventable OR delays, including things like keeping surgeon preference cards up to date, stocking appropriate inventory levels for consignment equipment and ensuring loaned instrumentation is on-site and ready for use.
Going beyond being a good ‘people manager’ is critical to gaining the respect of other departments in your hospital and continued advancement in your career.  And, crafting a data driven measurement plan for your department’s performance is a great way to clearly demonstrate your impact as a leader.