South Florida Hospital News
Thursday August 6, 2020

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November 2008 - Volume 5 - Issue 5

Achieving Success Where Others Tried: The Doug Williams Group Dramatically Improves Surgical Services Performance at a Major Florida Hospital

There's a prominent Florida hospital that enjoys an excellent national reputation, having been honored with numerous prestigious awards for providing "best in class" patient care. Sounds good so far, right?

What outsiders did not know was that the hospital had been suffering from severe performance problems in surgical services operations for a very long time. Because the problems went uncorrected, matters got worse, and in short order the hospital's administrators were not only trying to fix process problems, but were also facing major operational inefficiencies, a high level of dissatisfaction among surgeons, and shrinking profit margins.

Of course, the hospital's leadership never wanted the problems to continue. They had been trying for a long time to correct the existing problems and prevent new ones from developing. Their efforts included spending considerable time and money retaining consultant after consultant. Each new consultant tried to address the problems, but none were effective.

Eventually, hospital leadership realized that aggressive, hands-on leadership of improvement activities was needed across all departments involved in the delivery of surgical services. So, a few months ago, the hospital was referred to, and quickly engaged, The Doug Williams Group, a Miami-based team of improvement specialists with a long, impeccable track record of helping clients improve the effectiveness of people and the efficiency of processes to increase clientís profit. By taking an aggressive, hands-on approach to client engagements, The Doug Williams Group has created an industry category of their own. Not consultants, their improvement specialists closely partner with clients to not only develop practical solutions, but to take an active role and responsibility for the implementation of those solutions. As Doug Williams, chief executive officer, says, "We donít just make recommendations, we get results."

The Doug Williams Group client list is extensive, representing multiple industries and all sizes and types of companies. Their services are completely customized to clientís needs and are very comprehensive; incorporating educational programs, human resources, assessments and surveys, process improvement team facilitation, leadership team facilitation, and team/individual coaching.

At the Florida hospital, The Doug Williams Group was presented with an extensive array of problems. Surgeon satisfaction and case turnaround times needed to be improved immediately. Surgeon downtime between procedures, case delays, material and wage costs, and day-of-surgery add-on rates needed to be dramatically reduced. The percentage of on-time-first-case starts and operating room utilization needed to be increased Ö and those were just the first few items on the list.

After a brief period of operational assessment and surgeon interviews, the firm's improvement specialists rolled up their sleeves and literally worked side-by-side with the surgeons, administrators, surgical services managers, ancillary support department managers, and surgical services staff to implement solutions to both people and process problems. One improvement specialist said: "For five months, I spent at least four days a week at the hospital. I would start at 6:30 in the morning, a half-hour before the staff arrived, and would be in the operating room every day until late into the evening. This had to be a very hands-on engagement for us to get the results that our client expected." The Doug Williams Group lead several "fast-track" process improvement teams, implemented "realtime" performance monitoring systems, closely monitored surgeon satisfaction, provided management/staff personalized coaching, and tightened standard operating procedures.

In just a few months, the results were dramatic:

  • Portal to portal turnaround time was reduced by 29% to 20 minutes. This is the first time the 20 minute target had ever been reached.
  • Closure to incision time was reduced by 17% to 52 minutes, well below the national standard of 60 minutes. This had a corresponding positive effect on surgeon downtime, which was reduced to a maximum of 45 minutes between cases.
  • Add-on case volume was reduced by 67% by streamlining the scheduling process and implementing a system that opened lines of communication with every physician office in the area.
  • Case delays were reduced by 69%. The number of incidents resulting in a delayed case was reduced from 15 per day to 2 or less per day.
  • Percent first-case-on-time starts increased from 58% to 85%.
  • FTE utilization was increased resulting in wage cost reduction of $450,000 per year.
The satisfaction among members of the hospital's leadership with The Doug Williams Groupís performance is perhaps best summed up by comments made by two surgeons during a recent formal surgeon satisfaction survey: A prominent surgeon and member of the Board of Trustees who said, "The Doug Williams Group has made my life at the hospital measurably better." and the Chairman of the OR Committee who said, "In the 24 years I have been operating at this hospital, I have never seen the OR run as efficiently as it is running now".
For additional information about this client success story contact Doug Williams, Chief Executive Officer, at or (305) 598-9880. The Doug Williams Group is a team of improvement specialists who help their clients increase profits. For additional information about the firm visit
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