“Like Baking a Cake”

I am Lenita Williamson, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon and Founder of Procedure Card. The idea behind the Procedure Card software began in my kitchen, while baking a birthday cake. It occurred to me that baking a cake is a lot like surgery. Imagine the cake is the patient, the kitchen is the operating room, the chef is the surgeon and the recipe is Procedure Card.

Being fully prepared in the kitchen is the key to a great cake. First we create the recipe, to include all the essential ingredients the chef will need. This recipe then becomes our “shopping list” – our accurate point of reference, to use as  we shop for the high quality ingredients that are necessary to bake the perfect cake. In surgery, accurate preparation is essential. Team members prepare for the case by reviewing their card and gathering the required equipment and supplies. The problem with the current system starts here.  The card is wrong; the list is inaccurate and the equipment and supplies gathered are often incorrect.

Can you imagine how much harder it is to bake that perfect cake without the correct ingredients? Procedure Card is a software platform that solves the recipe card problem. Procedure Card is an online tool that solves many of the problems associated with the present procedure card system used in the operating room. With Procedure Card, all phases of the surgical process are vastly improved.

There are two phases; the Prep phase, during the prep phase the staff can read the card and prep for the case. The necessary items are obtained with ease and accuracy before the case every time.

The second phase is “Update”.; Let’s say while baking the cake, you try something new and decide to change your recipe. With Procedure Card, you  can easily access the original version instantly – from any device. Document your changes effortlessly and share your newly updated Procedure Card with your entire organization within seconds!

Why Is Procedure Card so important?

Firstly, a recent study performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco calculated the financial burden associated with discarding unused supplies in surgery (2).  They calculated that the neurosurgery department alone wasted about $968 dollars per case, $242,968 per month, adding up to $2.9 million dollars per year.  Procedure Card eliminates waste by providing the team an accurate list of supplies and tools. The key feature in eliminating waste is the ability to access and edit the card easily. An accurate card allows surgical precision while obtaining the items needed in surgery.

Secondly, Procedure Card minimizes surgical complications and infections. The Association of Operating Nurses published their results related to foot traffic. (1)  Door opening and foot traffic in the operating room was associated with increased airborne bacterial counts. The number one reason for door opening during surgery was the need to leave the room to get supplies. An outdated card requires the staff to enter and leave the room more often than a team that has an accurate card. An accurate card will minimize foot traffic in and out of the operating room. The required items are in the room and ready to use before the start of the case. The doctor and nurses are able to view, edit, create and share Procedure Card; which saves valuable time and resources.

Recap of the Benefits of Procedure Card:

Improve Patient Safety 

  • The team is focused on the surgical task.
  • All resources are available and ready prior to the start of the procedure.
  • Less foot traffic in and out of the operating room. Foot traffic has been associated with operating room infections and complications.(1)

Improve Resource Utilization

  • Decrease losses associated with opening and discarding unused supplies. (2)
  • Improved staff efficiency during prep and procedure time.
  • Create a more accurate list for inventory management and billing.
  • Recognize and address conflicts when scheduling the use of equipment, tools and other resources.

Productive use of operating room time – Cost Saving

  • Shortened operating room time.
  • Shortened surgery “turn over” time.

Better Team Experience

  • Consistent surgeon, team and patient experience.
  • Improved job satisfaction.
  • Improved patient satisfaction.
  • Easy access to the Procedure Card on any device anytime

  1. Rovaldi et. Al.  The Effect of an Interdisciplinary QI Project to Reduce OR Foot Traffic. AORN Journal June  2015 Vol 101 pages 662 – 678
  2. Zygourakis Operating room waste: disposable supply utilization in neurosurgical procedures. Journal of Neurosurgery Feb. 2017 Vol 126 No. 2 pages 620 – 625.


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