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  • Writer's pictureThe Chiefy Team

Six Ways AI Can Help Rethink Surgical Preference Cards

Updated: Mar 22

Surgical preference cards are an essential tool in the operating room, ensuring efficient surgeries by organizing and standardizing equipment and supplies. These cards evolved from physical index cards listing procedure-specific supplies for each surgeon, transitioning to digital lists in electronic medical records. While digitization improved accessibility, challenges in managing surgeons' preferences persisted. This post explores these challenges and highlights the transformative potential of AI-driven solutions.

TikTok @sarahthecyclist video about surgical preference card pains

Credit TikTok @sarahthecyclist You have to watch her full story :-)


How can AI transform surgical preference cards management?

  1. Ensuring accurate and current information is a critical aspect of managing physician preference cards, reducing instrument use and sterilization and controlling operating room supply expenses. With the rapid advancements in equipment and surgical techniques, and the potential for staff changes, maintaining up-to-date cards can be a significant challenge. Typically, non-surgeons handle these updates, which may sometimes lead to missed revisions. Establishing a robust system for regular updates and reviews with the surgical team can be difficult and burdensome. However, when applied on the right data (e.g. communication data), new AI capabilities allow learning how surgeons operate and solve this problem without requiring more work from the surgeons or other team members.

  2. Enhancing Efficiency and Safety: Most surgeons err on the side of patient safety and outcome and prefer redundant supply over operating without or waiting on a needed item. With time, more and more items are added to the preference cards, a phenomenon is known as “preference card creep”. AI-driven systems intelligently manage preference cards, preventing the unnecessary accumulation of irrelevant items. By precisely tailoring each preference card to the unique requirements of a specific case, AI ensures a lean, efficient, and patient-focused approach.

  3. Standardization across surgeons: Different surgeons may have unique surgical preferences for instruments and supplies, making it challenging to create preference cards that suit everyone. Operating rooms can be disrupted by this challenge. AI can bridge these gaps. With AI, we can craft preference cards that balance individual surgeon preferences with standardized best practices. This not only streamlines procedures but also enhances collaboration in the OR.

  4. Maintenance and accessibility: Maintaining and organizing a large number of preference cards can be cumbersome. Ensuring that the right cards are easily accessible at the right time is crucial for seamless surgical operations, but this is not easy, especially when EMR procedures are organized according to billing codes rather than clinical considerations. Preference cards are often linked to a specific surgeon, and if the surgeon leaves or retires, their preference information disappears. With AI-driven systems, the tedious task of managing preference cards becomes a breeze, also reducing waste of time and resources.

  5. Onboarding new surgeons: Creating preference cards is a painful step in a new surgeon’s onboarding, requiring an upfront effort and often starting from scratch. By leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence, we can make the onboarding process for new surgeons smoother and more efficient. AI-driven systems not only reduce the upfront effort required but also eliminate the need to create preference cards from square one. With AI's assistance, new surgeons can seamlessly integrate into the surgical team, focusing on providing exceptional patient care.

  6. Training and education: Not all surgical team members may be well-versed in preference card usage and management. Training and educating staff on the importance of preference cards and the proper procedures for updating and using them becomes an essential and resource-heavy task on its own. Utilizing AI-driven systems, we are able to revolutionize the training and education process, resulting in a reduced workload for members of the team.

Your preference cards don't clarify anything?
Credit @Goran GIFER

Say goodbye to Preference Cards with Chiefy

It is finally possible to say goodbye to preference cards as we know them and develop a cost-efficient surgical preference card system. Chiefy's cloud software can help solve the challenges associated with surgical preference cards. AI-driven capabilities can help with automatically updating and recommending preferences and creating hyper-personalized preference cards. Most importantly, they can eliminate some of the basic constraints that have made the preference cards situation so bad.


With Chiefy it is possible to learn surgeons’ preferences and leverage the insights to generate virtual preference cards and maintain them automatically. This makes life easier for the surgeons and their teams — and no one needs to worry about the tedious task of maintaining and optimizing preference cards.

As generative AI capabilities continue to evolve, these capabilities can be further extended and help hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) keep up with the increasing complexity of surgeons’ preferences, while reducing the costs associated with preference cards clean up and maintaining accurate surgical preference cards.


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