Asking patients to follow strict NPO restrictions is no longer commonplace — and for good reason. Allowing patients to drink clear fluids up to two hours before their scheduled procedures keeps them hydrated, reduces their anxiety and can even improve first-stick IV start success. To keep your patients hydrated, try using this simple but remarkably effective solution: Don’t just inform patients they should drink water prior to their procedures, let them know exactly how much water they should down. “I tell them they should drink a minimum of two 8-oz. glasses of water before they go to bed at night and another two 8-oz. glasses of water before they leave their house for surgery,” says William Weisberg, DO, an anesthesiologist with Sheridan Healthcorp in Plantation, Fla. To get surgeons and staff on board with ensuring patients are hydrated before surgery, send out periodic email reminders about why you’re pushing fluids. That move alone has worked wonders at Dr. Weisberg’s facility. “Since we started emailing our physicians about the reasons for the protocol, we’ve seen the adherence rate jump to between 75% and 85%,” he says.