Increasing efficiency and staff satisfaction in the central OR

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We wanted to do more with our established structures and existing staff – and this project has matched this perfectly. We have achieved an outstanding increase in our efficiency, with satisfied employees who feel appreciated and valued.”

Pia Koch, Commercial Manager

UKE Hamburg-Eppendorf


Due to growing demand in cases and with no possibility to extend resources, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) needed to increase the efficiency of its central OR. The UKE had previously worked with a number of consultancy firms; however, their concepts were primarily focused on reducing costs. Pia Koch, Commercial Manager and leader of the UKE transformation project: “This wasn’t our primary starting point. Our question is: How can we enhance our performance with our existing resources and spatial limitations?” 


To address this and improve staff satisfaction, the UKE launched a transformation project and chose to bring in external expertise from Philips.

Our approach


The Philips consultancy team performed a comprehensive analysis that included the results from previous consultancy engagements and involved all hospital departments that are connected to the OR processes. The consultants interviewed staff from all associated functions and observed processes in action to capture day-to-day information in the OR and the experiences of the various stakeholders. This analysis led to the creation of a detailed process flow poster visualizing the current workflows and process bottlenecks. The process flow poster was the input for a co-creation workshop in which the UKE and Philips consultancy team jointly developed optimization measures.

We deliberately chose to bring in external moderation and methodology expertise. We weren’t looking for complete concepts or consultancy in the sense of recommendations about what to implement – we needed support with the implementation itself.”

Pia Koch, Commercial Manager

UKE Hamburg-Eppendorf

Areas of improvement


The co-creation workshop was led by Philips consultants and attended by several UKE stakeholders. Collectively solutions for areas of improvement were developed that included punctuality of the first surgical incision in the morning, surgery preparation times and changeover times in the afternoon. The outcomes of the workshop were the starting point of the implementation phase in which teams consisting of various stakeholders worked on individual sub-projects. The Philips consultants continued to provide support by moderating and structuring project meetings, developing templates and sharing methodology expertise. 


Philips also developed a standardized blueprint that the UKE can use to drive their transformation forward themselves. This included establishing an organizational structure with steering groups and sub-projects where communication and information flows can be controlled in a transparent way. 

The results


The first successes were achieved within just one year: a 77% reduction in central OR downtime and 1400 more surgeries were performed. This led to improved staff satisfaction and increased economic efficiency. The process flow poster remains displayed inside the central OR department – reminding all staff that a dynamic process requires continuous improvement.

We significantly reduced our downtime periods and performed a far higher number of surgical procedures – with a greater proportion of these being performed during our core working hours.”

Pia Koch, Commercial Manager

UKE Hamburg-Eppendorf

Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.
UKE Hamburg
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg comprises more than 80 clinics, polyclinics and institutes in 14 centers. The UKE has 13,560 employees and admits more than 100,000 in-patients annually. In addition, there are over 400,000 outpatients, of which around 130,000 are treated in the emergency department. Together with the medical faculty of the University of Hamburg, the UKE also plays an important role in academic training.

Meet our team

Chris Comeau

Aline Mittag

Healthcare Consultant DACH region

Aline is committed to helping healthcare organizations improve the way they deliver patient care. She has experience in process optimization and with her knowledge of LEAN and change management methodologies, she supports clients in their transformation journey.  

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