Operating room (OR) turnover time (TT) has a broad and significant impact on hospital administrators, providers, staff and patients. Our objective was to identify current problems in TT management and implement a consistent, reproducible process to reduce average TT and process variability. Initial observations of TT were made to document the existing process at a 511 bed, 24 OR, academic medical center. Three control groups, including one consisting of Orthopedic and Vascular Surgery, were used to limit potential confounders such as case acuity/duration and equipment needs. A redesigned process based on observed issues, focusing on a horizontally structured, systems-based approach has three major interventions: developing consistent criteria for OR readiness, utilizing parallel processing for patient and room readiness, and enhancing perioperative communication. Process redesign was implemented in Orthopedics and Vascular Surgery. Comparisons of mean and standard deviation of TT were made using an independent 2-tailed t-test. Using all surgical specialties as controls (n = 237), mean TT (hh:mm:ss) was reduced by 0:20:48 min (95 % CI, 0:10:46-0:30:50), from 0:44:23 to 0:23:25, a 46.9 % reduction. Standard deviation of TT was reduced by 0:10:32 min, from 0:16:24 to 0:05:52 and frequency of TT>/=30 min was reduced from 72.5to 11.7 %. P < 0.001 for each. Using Vascular and Orthopedic surgical specialties as controls (n = 13), mean TT was reduced by 0:15:16 min (95 % CI, 0:07:18-0:23:14), from 0:38:51 to 0:23:35, a 39.4 % reduction. Standard deviation of TT reduced by 0:08:47, from 0:14:39 to 0:05:52 and frequency of TT>/=30 min reduced from 69.2 to 11.7 %. P < 0.001 for each. Reductions in mean TT present major efficiency, quality improvement, and cost-reduction opportunities. An OR redesign process focusing on parallel processing and enhanced communication resulted in greater than 35 % reduction in TT. A systems-based focus should drive OR TT design.