What do users of ATOM say?

Alturos Theatre Optimisation Method (ATOM)

Jacky Rawlins, Group General Manager, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

“Alturos predicted that an increase of around 10% of session utilisation could be achieved. (through improving Theatre Scheduling). Although some members of the team were sceptical, this is exactly what happened. Now the whole organisation wants to use the method in their clinical service.

It took just six weeks to carry out the pilot project in Urology and it’s been stable since that time. We have now nearly completed our roll-out of this method across all specialities. Alturos’s fees were tremendous value for money – we achieved a return on our investment in just one week, with the benefits becoming obvious in that short period of time. Also, we’ve improved our planning processes for day admissions, therefore reducing delays. Alturos were correct in their predictions and as a bonus, staff morale has improved across the multi-disciplinary team.

The other key need was that the model for Sheffield could demonstrate real benefits in terms of theatre efficiency. This method has enabled us to increase surgical time, therefore ensuring that each list is profitable against the service line. This means that the number of lists per year required against contracted activity has gone down.

While we were working with Alturos on the Urology pilot, Jim identified an issue with the pre-op assessment process and the allocation of pre-op slots. He provided us with a method to calculate the slots required to ensure adequate flow into the booking team’s office for appropriate time allocation. We also worked on capturing the demand onto the waiting list in terms of minutes to allocate and then working with Alturos to understand the capacity required for ongoing delivery of our demand and maintenance of the 18 week position.

Throughout our dealings with Jim, we have found him to be flexible and professional. He has the confidence and respect of our consultant body as an expert in his field. He has also been able to incorporate any issues that arose during the project and to support our aims without extending Alturos’s fees. In terms of external support, we found it highly beneficial.”

Cathy Jones, General Manager, Surgical Division, Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

“The Alturos team have been a terrific support to our staff. Their methodical and calm approach to demonstrating the theory behind ATOM and tailoring their explanations to the various staff groups has been exemplary, and my senior team have learnt a lot just from observing the Alturos approach to clinician engagement! The leads are generous with their coaching and demonstration time which makes a real difference to the feel of the support – less telling us what to do, and more showing us how to do it – and then helping us along the way.

We are just at the beginning of our roll-out of ATOM, but already the teams are talking and thinking differently about scheduling, and are excited to realise the benefits from using the new model. The preparation phase of the scheduling times has been relatively painless and our Consultant teams have risen to the challenge of interrogating and understanding their procedure lists. The booking team have responded really well to a consistent and robust set of timings, and we have taken the guesswork out of scheduling.

In contrast to previous attempts to improve productivity at the Trust, there is no report gathering dust on a shelf. The Alturos team work with the clinical staff alongside us, rather than leaving us to try and implement once they’ve waved goodbye. They are embedding the work with our teams and are adapting the approach to suit out needs, rather than an off the shelf solution which we then have to try and work with. The service they have provided is excellent value for money, and we are looking forward to not only successfully delivering a significant transformational QIPP project but coming out of the other side having enjoyed it and ready for the next one!

The team have proven expertise in the area and respond well to challenge on the principles and practice of ATOM. Being able to demonstrate how the model has worked in other Trusts has been invaluable in gaining the confidence of our teams, and the progressive trial and review process allows us to build a stable base of evidence to prove the model before going live which increases support and willingness to adapt.”