Surgery center cuts same-day cancellations

A surgery center decreased its same-day cancellation rate by 53%, increased patient satisfaction scores, and increased OR use by having nurses make calls to patients three days before surgery, according to a study in the July AORN Journal.1

For six months, nurses at the University of North Carolina Health Care Ambulatory Surgical Center in Chapel Hill followed a script, according to They reported any new information or concerns to the clinic and to the surgery center team. They found three primary reasons for same-day cancellations:

• not showing up;

• not following NPO orders;

• not being accompanied by a responsible adult who would receive discharge instructions and transport the patient.

According to the researchers, these three factors indicate the need for better education of patients. "Scripting and advance calls by nurses are an effective way to communicate to patients the reasons for preoperative restrictions and the consequences of not following them," according to the authors.


1. Haufler K, Harrington M. Using nurse-to-patient telephone calls to reduce day-of-surgery cancellations. AORN J 2011; 94: 19-26. Accessed at