Operating Room Cost Management

Hospital systems (both small and large) have been freezing capital expenditures and reducing expenses as much as possible across the country. Priorities for OR administrators and decision makers have shifted to conserving cash in any way possible due to the effects of COVID-19. Outpatient procedures were shut down altogether for months. Certain states have reopened elective surgeries, yet some facilities still have restrictions on case volume. Needless to say, it’s been an unprecedented year for healthcare.

Ophthalmology has lost the most volume in 2020 as compared to any other specialty, seeing an 81% drop since 2019 (according to

Cataract Surgery in particular has dropped 97% in procedure volume. This is largely due to the restrictions in effect for elective surgeries and COVID precautionary measures. Likewise, in-office patient checkups are at an all time low due to the pandemic. Hardly anyone is going to see their healthcare provider unless it’s an emergency.

As new COVID-19 infection rates drop, elective surgeries have started to reopen. The more restrictions are lifted, the more we can expect to see a backlog of elective surgeries begin to flood our ORs. In other words, we may be facing a potential surge in elective surgery across the country.

This creates a unique challenge we’ve never encountered before. On a large scale, hospitals and ASCs will see major growth in elective surgery cases, while simultaneously experiencing strict spending restrictions due to the preceding months of low revenue. Even if the facility has capital to spend, ophthalmic cases might be the last specialty on the list to acquire new technology or receive any investment.

Outsourcing your cataract equipment is a solution you should be considering.

Surgical Direct offers a perfect partnership model for the current landscape.

1) Access new technology with no capital expense.

We deliver the equipment to your facility on the day of surgery; Phaco machines, microscopes, hand-pieces, lenses, case supplies, and backups.

2) Eliminate your ongoing maintenance costs.

We maintain and repair our equipment directly with the manufacturer, ensuring that everything is working safely and efficiently at all times.

3) Eliminate inventory management costs.

Our Mobile Cataract Services include disposable supplies and lenses for each case. Eliminate the time/cost connected to ordering, reordering, stocking, and expiration losses of cataract supplies from your facility.

4) Increase your facility’s surgery day potential.

Increase your cataract days from 1 room to 2 rooms (or even 3) with no capital expense, allowing for more cases and increased revenue.

This just scratches the surface.

Our goal is to be a service that reduces your overall expense and increases your efficiency in cataract surgery and your level of patient care.

Partnership is the way forward. Partner with us!

Have questions?

Click or call today to get a conversation in motion about Mobile Cataract Services with Surgical Direct.

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More about our Mobile Cataract Services

The Cataract Caddie – 4 Traits of the SDI Cataract Technician

At Surgical Direct, we offer Mobile Cataract Services to Hospitals, ASCs, and Ophthalmologists all over the country. A Cataract Technician is provided on every surgery day with Surgical Direct. From experience, we know that eye surgery can often be viewed as “another world” to the surgical staff. Often times, the surgical staff at any particular OR may have 1 to 2 people who are familiar with cataract surgery. Some facilities that we step into have NO one experienced with eyes. Needless to say, this can cause the staff to be under stress on eye day. Cataract surgery is a very repetitive procedure with high success rates, but this does not mean that it’s a simple procedure. It’s a highly-detailed, microsurgical procedure with numerous steps requiring precision and incredible detail. Each instrument is unique and has a specific purpose. One small circumstance can change the surgery dramatically, creating the need for backup instruments, a different lens implant, or specialty items that the surgeon hasn’t used in months.

Unless your facility is an “Eye Center”, the likelihood of your staff being familiar with all the possible scenarios that could come about on surgery day is slim. The unknown or lack of knowledge can create a sense of anxiety on eye day, not only for the staff in the room but for the surgeon as well.

Meet your Surgical Direct Cataract Technician – The “Cataract Caddie”

A vital part of our Mobile Cataract Service model is our Technician. It might seem silly to take a cherished past-time (golf) and a surgical procedure and try to cross-reference similarities. One is a sport, a past-time, a way to relax and get your mind off of life on a beautiful par 5. The other is a surgical procedure that can greatly determine the future eyesight of a human being…not to be taken lightly in the slightest. 

However, when discussing what it is we actually do as a company, the picture of our Surgical Technicians being like a caddie in your OR on eye day is a simple and accurate way to paint the picture. In fact, one of our very own technicians (Dustin Anthony – Regional Operations & Phaco Technician), of his own inspiration, wrote about his position at Surgical Direct Inc and references the “caddie” concept and his pride in his role. Read his post on LinkedIn, we think you’ll enjoy it.

The definition of a golf caddie (according to Wikipedia) “is the person who carries a player’s bag and clubs, and gives insightful advice and moral support. A good caddie is aware of the challenges and obstacles of the golf course being played, along with the best strategy in playing it.”

1) We carry the “bag and clubs”

The SDI technician brings the equipment needed for the surgeon to “play his best”. He brings the latest technology to the OR on surgery day. And just as a caddie cares for the clubs, making sure that they are clean, and ready when needed, a tech ensures all the equipment is ready to go for each surgery.

2) We provide insight & moral support

In order to become an SDI technician, you must go through an initial 90-day intensive training, complete with a final exam. Each technician is trained thoroughly in Phacodynamics, OR protocols, Aseptic training, principals of light, anatomy of the eye, and our intensive equipment training program. And that’s just the first 90 days! An average SDI technician provides support for roughly 80-100 cases per month, and the majority of our technicians have held their positions for years. Each cataract technician has the technical know-how to provide insight to the staff and surgeon on the equipment, supplies, instruments, and lenses. But just because we may know a lot of about the surgery, doesn’t mean that we are above taking the trash out, running to the clean core to help find an instrument the surgeon is asking for, or helping turnover the room in between cases. Support is our service.

3) We are aware of the challenges and obstacles of the course.

The in-depth training and sheer volume of surgeries our technicians have been through creates an awareness of surgical steps and the possible outcomes should an issue arise. The majority of the time, our technicians are prepared and ready for possible issues. A seasoned technician can be alerted to issues simply by hearing a change in the machine’s pressure reading tone, or knowing when a surgeon is performing a certain step slower than expected. If the surgeon expects that a case might be complicated, she/he alerts the tech of possible items that might be needed during that case. Our techs take it a step further, and know that “if he/she opens this, then they might need that….and I’ll want backups in the room just in case so I don’t have to run out of the room to get them”. Preparedness and awareness of the “obstacles” help the surgery day run as smooth as possible. Happier staff. Comfortable surgeon. Better outcomes! Better day!

4) Relationship builds trust

“Behind every successful golfer is a caddie with a steady presence”. Read this fascinating article The 36 Greatest Caddies of All Time, and I think you’ll agree that relationships play a vital part in trust and success of a golfer and their caddie. We believe this to be true with our cataract technicians as well. That’s why we do our best to schedule our technicians strategically every month so that our accounts are seeing familiar faces. Our technicians become part of your surgical staff on eye day. Over the years, many have become “work family” in our accounts. It’s our goal to provide that “steady presence” so every surgeon and staff we work with can achieve success.

There are several mobile cataract services out there, but we firmly believe that our cataract technicians at Surgical Direct are what makes our service stand out.

Could your OR use a Cataract Caddie? Want to know more about Surgical Direct and what our services can bring to your OR? Check out our recent post about 5 Headaches Eliminated with Mobile Cataract Services to see how Surgical Direct can help alleviate your cataract surgery stress.