One of Becker’s Hospital Review of “100 Great Hospitals in America” 2016 Selects UniteOR, Inc.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Newport Beach to Solve OR Challenges with Leading Loaner Tray Management Solution

UniteOR, Inc., a leading cloud-based surgical tray management and tracking software, announces a partnership with Hoag Memorial Hospital Newport Beach after being selected as the solution of choice. Hoag will now have a complete consigned and loaner tray management solution to improve its processes from sterile processing through operating room (OR) and back to vendor receipt, resulting in OR efficiency gains, reduction in surgery case delays, and improved cost savings.

Sam Del Toro, Manager of Sterile Processing at Hoag Newport Beach, stated, “After years of doing things the old way, our industry and clinical business is finally adopting software technology to improve clinical supply chain processes and enabling what will result in better patient safety and patient care.” Del Toro continues, “UniteOR has a unique solution in the market in that the company puts us, the hospital provider and physicians, as the center of attention via its method of tray and vendor management and is truly focused on driving cost savings and OR efficiencies.”

With a significant increase in orthopedic surgeries due to increasing patient demand, Del Toro sought for a solution to help Hoag wrap its arms around the entire surgical tray management processes and medical device manufacturer’s compliance with the hospital’s stringent policies and procedures. The need to standardize and improve communication among all stakeholders involved in surgery, monitor surgical instrumentation vendors’ adherence, and assess vendors’ performance led to the selection of UniteOR’s cloud-based software.

“We are delighted and honored to have a marque health system and hospital in Hoag to join our prestigious list of client partners. Hoag is known for its clinical excellence and patient satisfaction ratings. We look forward to supporting the organization in its OR improvement initiative and process excellence to be enabled by our unique solution,” said Nam D. Vo, CEO of UniteOR.

UniteOR’s proven implementation methodology is aimed to take Hoag live on its solution by January 30, 2017.

About UniteOR
UniteOR is a leading cloud-based solution provider for surgical tray management designed to manage consigned (loaned and borrowed) surgical instrumentation while managing and measuring vendor compliance to increase sterile processing and operating room (OR) efficiency and improve patient safety. Based on the company’s communication platform, the solution drives a collaborative procurement process to enforce and manage stakeholders’ (including sterile processing, clinical materials management, perioperative, OR staff, and vendor representatives) compliance and accountability. UniteOR offers healthcare providers, clinical practitioners, and vendor representatives the tools to ultimately provide the highest level of healthcare services in the OR to the patient at a lower cost. For more information please visit

Addressing the Ramifications of Vendor/Loaner Trays on Perioperative Services and CSP Operations

With the growing population of adults needing total joint replacements and complex spinal procedures, come greater challenges for hospitals to manage loaned and consigned surgical instrumentation. There are significant management and accounting issues when utilizing a third party as a source for instrument trays. Constraints exist because there are multiple parties involved in the process, each with competing priorities and goals.

This position paper dives into the importance of a formalized loaner tray process that comes with critical performance expectations. The document explains how meaningful data generated in the process when properly captured, reported, and analyzed will provide all levels within the healthcare organization an understanding of where the performance gaps may lie.

“It was a pleasure to work with Cory Nestman from HSS who brought tremendous domain expertise in surgical instrument management and sterile processing best practices,” said Nam D. Vo, CEO. “Cory along with Davi Schmidt and her customer direct experiences and thought leadership have addressed key areas of challenges and made solid recommendations on how to solve them.”

Download the position paper here:

About UniteOR
UniteOR is a leading cloud-based solution provider for surgical tray management designed to manage consigned (loaned and borrowed) surgical instrumentation while managing and measuring vendor compliance to increase sterile processing and operating room (OR) efficiency and improve patient safety. Based on the company’s communication platform, the solution drives a collaborative procurement process to enforce and manage stakeholders’ (including sterile processing, clinical materials management, perioperative, OR staff, and vendor representatives) compliance and accountability. UniteOR offers healthcare providers, clinical practitioners, and vendor representatives the tools to ultimately provide the highest level of healthcare services in the OR to the patient at a lower cost. For more information please visit

Six Sigma Your EMR (Electronic Medical Records)

n January of this year, the Obama Administration put out an announcement that it will begin working on upgrading the Electronic Medical Record incentive program. When Obamacare pushed EMR’s into facilities with deadlines for incentive returns, physicians reluctantly obliged and began electronically producing medical records. A survey conducted by The American Medical Association and American EHR Partners found that only 34% of those physicians surveyed were happy with their EMR system. We are in 2016, why would anyone still want to write anything on paper!? The catch: Another study by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that physicians are now spending an astonishing 44% of their time sitting at a computer pointing and clicking in order to enter patient data into their EMR. Here lies the problem.

Is there a way to reduce this monotonous task for physicians so they can actually focus on their patient? There are obvious benefits to the EMR system and digitizing medical records, but the question is how can we streamline this into a repeatable, less redundant process? I decided to do some research of my own, so I interviewed Dr. Jodi Southam, a EMR Lead and Orthopedic Surgeon. In a 9 hour clinic day, Dr. Southam spends about 6 hours a day just focusing on her patients, and 3 hours a day inputting information into her EMR. The benefits she sees from her EMR system include increased communication as well as easy access to charting and other records. She does believe that EMR usage has the potential to be faster than dictating, in most circumstances. The only caveat is that there is an initial investment of ones time that is required in order to reach that point of efficiency. In many of the articles written about the effects of EMR systems on physicians, the biggest complaint is that the process of information being input into the system in monotonous and often times very cumbersome. When asked about this issue Dr. Southam responded, “When there are redundancies in the program, we do what we can to fix it. For example, when putting in a case request we are asked to put in a diagnosis. Later on in the process, we are asked again to put in this same (diagnosis) information. By placing a request with our EMR system, the redundancy was able to be modified.” This led me to the conclusion that there is a high possibility that many EMR systems are not be utilized to their full potential; I dug deeper.

What exactly is customizable in an EMR system? Almost everything. Dr. Southam explained that physicians are able to create separate templates based on the progress of the patient called “progress notes,” which can include things like operative notes, procedures, instructions, discharges, etc. Inside of these templates they can also create smart lists for specific keywords and phrases. Essentially these are all shortcuts in the system that may take up time initially, but free up the physicians time in the future. My suggestion to those facilities struggling to reduce EMR time for their physicians, is to really invest in customizing the system and also bringing in a champion that can help facilitate and teach others how to use the EMR system more effectively and efficiently. Facilities apply six sigma to every other process in the hospital, why not your EMR too?

Butler, David. “Taking Lean to the Screen: Removing Waste from the Electronic Health Record.” Healthcare IT News. N.p., 08 Aug. 2016. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.

Denning, Steve. “Why Is Your Doctor Typing? Electronic Medical Records Run Amok.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.

Westgate, Aubrey. “Ten Ways to Use Your EHR More Efficiently.” Physicians Practice: America’s Practice Management Resource. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.

A Whole New Breed: Medical School by Kaiser

As an efficiency monster, how do you ensure this starts at the roots of your facility? Build a medical school. Kaiser Permanente announced the opening of its new venture, a medical school in Southern California, in 2019. This particular medical school will focus on the values Kaiser holds as well as “hands-on experience for students in clinics and hospitals, with a focus on primary care, the use of new technologies, and physicians’ role as part of a caregiving team.” Just like they shook up the health care industry with their new HMO model including patient care and insurance coverage, they are en route to turning the medical school field upside down as well. Less classroom, and more real-world experience is their motto. They have plans to push education in technology as well as cost of care and efficiencies. Kaiser was at the forefront of telemedicine and increasing technology usage in patient care. The students at Kaiser Medical School will be well versed in these avenues and up to date on the various ways in which physicians can care for patients alternatively. Research is also a huge element that will be fostered in this environment. Although this will be a new project for Kaiser, they are familiar with the medical school industry. Currently they are partnered with UC Davis for a fast track training program specifically catering to primary care doctors. With that being said, this new school will be much more than primary doctors. Their plan is to prepare medical students for the way healthcare will be delivered in the future. Cryts, Aine. “Kaiser’s Medical School Can Revolutionize How Docs Are Taught.” FiercePracticeManagement. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2016. Rovner, Julie. “Kaiser Permanente’s New Medical School Will Focus On Teamwork.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 31 May 2016. Terhune, Chad. “HMO Giant Kaiser Plans To Open A Medical School in Southern California.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, n.d. Web. 31 May 2016.


Western urban areas, the Alamo and a bustling river walk aren’t the only things that have San Antonio buzzing this week. IAHCSMM is back and in action. Starting early this year on Saturday with an Endoscope Reprocessing workshop, the conference kicked off with a bang! UniteOR was delighted to sponsor the speakers for this presentation, Garland Grisby and Russell Arcana. In addition, UniteOR’s own CEO, Cameron Werschkul, and VP, Joy Boswell, are standing proudly at the vendor fair today at booth #1325.
Educational sessions span from Endoscope reprocessing to understanding best sterilization practices in CSP departments to how to deal with faculty in those departments. Learn more about getting a handle on your loaner tray process as well as information on AAMI and JACHO standards and stop by UniteOR’s booth!

Healthcare Mergers Ball & Chain

The expansion of healthcare mergers continues to increase across the United States. This increase in acquisitions, may cause many trials and tribulations for the consumer- patient . There has not been a lot of research based on the effects of hospital system acquisition. What we do know is that it can help with increasing coordination and better quality, but unfortunately, on the downside it comes with a steep price tag.

Researchers Melnick and Fonkych, found that there was a discrepancy of nearly $4,000 per patient among larger hospital systems vs independent hospitals. This data is based on two of California’s biggest hospital systems, Sutter Health and Dignity Health. Although California has been the front runner for hospital mergers, it seems that the rest of the country will soon follow suit.  So what are the real benefits that come along with the price spike?

When independent hospitals are acquired the merger brings in greater managerial expertise and increases their access to capital requests. Some argue that this leads to greater efficiencies and streamlines hospital processes. A separate team of researchers used rates of inpatient mortality, rate of overused procedures and other patient safety indicators as values to examine “quality of care.” They found that quality only improved for one value, rate of overused procedures. Hospital systems were able to reduce the amount of overused procedures by 1.2%.

While there are positives and negatives to every change, the conclusion on hospital acquisition is still in the works. There is much more research to be done in order to come to a solid analysis on the two options. Although I am not sure if the hospital system benefits outweigh the negatives, once the systems themselves figure out a way to speed up approval processes and increase communication within the systems corporate structure the benefits will increase tremendously.

Cuellar, Alison, and Paul Gertler. “Health Affairs.” How The Expansion Of Hospital Systems Has Affected Consumers. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2016.

Melnick, Glenn, and Katya Fonkych. “Hospital Prices Increase in California, Especially Among Hospitals in the Largest Multi-hospital Systems.” Hospital Prices Increase in California, Especially Among Hospitals in the Largest Multi-hospital Systems. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, n.d. Web. 29 June 2016.

Terhune, Chad. “As Hospital Chains Grow, So Do Their Prices For Care.” Kaiser Health News. N.p., 13 June 2016. Web. 29 June 2016.

UniteOR Mobile Vendor App Dropping with a Bang!

We built UniteOR to increase efficiencies and reduce error in the operating room as well as during the procurement of instrumentation. In keeping with these efforts, we are beyond excited to announce the drop date for our new Mobile Vendor App, July 10th! Before the app was created Vendors could check schedules, confirm a case and view details via our website. In addition, all notifications came as an email and/or text message. Now, with our new app, all of your notifications, schedules and case details are in one user-friendly app making it even easier to do your job as a Vendor directly from your phone.

What does the UniteOR Vendor App do? You can conveniently view all notifications, including any changes or updates to any surgeries, directly from the notifications tab. You can view the schedule of cases for your entire company, or filter down to your own schedule specifically. There is also functionality that allows you to filter your schedule on a time/date basis. From this part of the app, you can easily update or edit your arrival information or specific tray sets. Scheduling an add-on has become easier than ever. Simply click on the Add-on button and input the information then quickly hit submit, and you are done!

That is not the end of our announcement! The first 20 people to download the UniteOR Vendor App will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Amazon! Our app does a soft launch on July 10th for a select few vendors, and will then do a hard launch on July 15th so be sure to check out our App landing page to see all the important details you need to know to download it. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog so when there are any updates on the app you will get notified of them as well!

Wrong Instruments? Wrong Answer: Effects of Incorrect Instrumentation in the OR

Imagine your patient lying in the operating room, open and ready for surgery as the surgeon asks for an instrument out of the micro set. The vendor is sure he dropped it off, but sterile processing has no recollection or confirmed information whether the tray ever even showed up! Now you have the vendor blaming sterile processing, sterile processing blaming the vendor, an inefficient OR and a very upset surgeon. The effect that lost, missing or incorrect instrumentation and trays have on facilities can be devastating and can potentially harmful to the patient, as well as the facilities accreditations and reputation.

Baby boomers are flooding into hospitals, and unfortunately, hospitals do not have the money to buy or consign all of the trays needed for the many types of procedures that are performed in their facilities. Therefore, hospitals are bombarded daily with a large amount of loaner sets. Antiquated procedures are the only glue holding together this loaner process. When mistakes are made or miscommunications happen, this can result in delayed surgeries and even “flash sterilization.” Both of these outcomes can compromise patient safety.

Let’s not forget about the cost! In a study done by Can Anaesth, they found that the cost of postponing a surgery is close to $2,000. In addition, the cost of reprocessing a tray is $50-$60, multiply that by 2 if you had to postpone the case. What if the instrument is totally lost? Now we are talking thousands and thousands of dollars depending on the specific instrument. The majority of hospitals issue a reimbursement to the vendor, because there is rarely documentation proving exactly where that instrument was lost.

According to an article by Molly Gamble, one of the best ways to prevent inefficiencies in the operating room due to equipment problems is by holding meetings and forecasting the schedule for the next day and ensuring that the “pick lists” on the case carts are accurate. There are systems, such as UniteOR, that solve all of these problems. By implementing processes that allow you to increase efficiency and accountability during the procurement of implantable devices and the accompanying instrumentation, you can save your facility thousands of dollars and numerous headaches.

Ackridge, Jeannie. “Blocked and Loaded diabetes medicine.” February 2014 – Operating Room. Healthcare Purchasing, n.d. Web. 02 June 2015. <>.

Gamble, Molly. “6 Cornerstones of Operating Room Efficiency: Best Practices for Each.” 6 Cornerstones of Operating Room Efficiency: Best Practices for Each. Becker’s Hospital Review, n.d. Web. 02 June 2015. <>.

Tessler, Michael, Simcha Kleiman, and Michael Huberman. “”Zero Tolerence for Overtime”” “zero Tolerance for Overtime” Increases Surgical per Case Costs. Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia, 01 Oct. 1997. Web. 02 June 2015. <>.

Topic of Conversation at IAHCSMM: Scopes

Packed up our booth and took flight again, this time to an area slightly sunnier. UniteOR was in attendance at this years IAHCSMM Conference in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The buzz around the conference this year seemed to range from new technology and IFU’s to AAMI updates and sterilization standards. Although all topics exude great importance, one of the most repeated topics was scopes. After several superbug outbreaks across the Unites States, some resulting in deaths, caused by improperly sanitized duodenoscopes, scopes and IFU’s have been in the spotlight for those involved in the sterile processing industry. The FDA has released “guidelines” that should now be followed in order to avoid future outbreaks.

The endoscope controversy originated back in February at the Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center which resulted in the possible infection of 179 people and two deaths. Then, early in February, Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles had 4 patients that were infected with the same superbug. Other facilities across the United States, including one in Seattle, have also confirmed cases of the infection, all due to the use of improperly sanitized duodenoscopes. This particular endoscope was marketed for years without any clearance.

Three months ago the FDA issued a “general warning” to all hospitals against the duodenoscope. According to The Daily Briefing, in this warning they announced that duodenoscopes are difficult to clean, and “may facilitate the spread of deadly bacteria.” The FDA also acknowledged that even if the manufacturer’s IFU’s were followed when cleaning the scope, that alone still may not remove all of the deadly bacteria.

The FDA stands by the belief that endoscopes are an important device that helps treat patients, and should not be recalled. On May 14th and 15th the FDA will host a two-day meeting to further discuss the infections caused by duodenoscopes and delve into finding a better solution for the reprocessing of these instruments.

Many of the discussions at IAHCSMM wrapped up with the same question, how can we provide safety to patients yet still provide them with the most current and effective procedures and processes?

“FDA Releases New Rules for Testing Device Linked to Superbug Outbreak.” FDA Releases New Rules for Testing Device Linked to Superbug Outbreak. The Daily Briefing, n.d. Web. 08 May 2015. <>.

HealthDay, WebMD News from. “2nd Hospital Reports Superbug Linked to Endoscopes.” WebMD. WebMD, 5 Mar. 2015. Web. 08 May 2015. <>.

“Medical Scope Now Tied to Wisconsin Superbug Outbreak | Al Jazeera America.” Medical Scope Tied to Wisconsin Superbug Outbreak. America Tonight, n.d. Web. 08 May 2015. <>.

Terhune, Chad. “UCLA Superbug: Lawmaker Asks Congress to Investigate FDA Response.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 May 2015. <>.