CLEVELAND, OH – With budgets being slashed and insurers looking to save money, the Anesthesia Department at Memorial Hospital made a significant change to its Anesthesia Pre-Op Clinic. The clinic moved to a section of the building that has permanent broken elevators and is on the 4th floor. You might be asking yourself, “Ok, how does that help?”
The anesthesia clinic name is a misnomer. To be frank, there actually isn’t a anesthesia pre-op clinic at Memorial Hospital anymore. The door at the top of the 4th floor is a door to a janitorial supply closet. On the outside of the door is a sign that reads, “If you can read this sign, please take a copy. You are cleared for surgery. Take care.” Dr. Ruth Vanderrutt was instrumental in starting this groundbreaking new clinic style. “Most people do fine with anesthesia and surgery. If you can walk up a few flights, chances are you will do well.”
Robert Snidell, an upcoming surgical patient, was initially confused. “I dreaded going to my pre-op appointment. The last time I had to wait 2 hours to see someone, and then I had to get all kinds of blood tests and X-rays. It was an all-day affair.” Snidell describes having this same fear yesterday as he went to get his pre-op exam done for an upcoming ankle scope. “I went to a different wing of the hospital that I hadn’t seen before and initially I was furious when I saw the broken elevator sign. I stormed up the steps and was getting ready to give someone a piece of my mind at the clinic. When I got to the top and saw the sign, I was elated. “Snidell described feeling ‘on top of the world,’ and ‘thrilled to be at this hospital.'”
Dr. Vanderrutt even had a plan for the people who can’t make it up the stairs. Down on the first floor, there is a small bench at the bottom and next to it reads a second sign with handouts. “If you are sitting here, and you have an upcoming surgery, please go see Internal Medicine and Cardiology prior to your surgery. Thank you.”
Vanderrutt’s program is catching on with other clinics. The Emergency Room now posts signs at the front saying, “If you are not sick, please leave.” The labor deck has posted signs saying, “If you are not in labor than please leave and return when in true labor.” A simple plan for a complex medical system.