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Four reasons why OR block scheduling is getting overhauled
By: LeanTaaS Blog
Feb. 19, 2017 05:00 PM
Operating Room Block Scheduling Needs an Overhaul
One minute of utilized operating room (OR) time can be worth more than $70 in revenue and one minute of staffed OR time can cost $50 or more, making underutilized OR time a huge problem. Each year, roughly 51 million surgeries are performed in the 5,000+ hospitals and 5,000+ surgery centers in the U.S. MGMA estimates that the corresponding utilization of operating rooms across these centers is, at best, 55-60 percent.
Given that, for each percentage point of increased utilization, the benefits of an overhaul are considerable. A single OR can deliver more than $100,000 in revenue to a hospital or surgery center. Even for a small hospital or ASC with 8-10 ORs, the value of increasing utilization by 5 percent can easily be in excess of $5 million annually. For large systems, the value of a single OR can run into the tens of millions. If average OR utilization increased by 5 percentage points, more than 2.5 million patients could undergo procedures within the same OR infrastructure.
Root Cause of Underutilization
Block Scheduling Is Getting an Overhaul
The technology exists and is starting to be used: Imagine a series of timely, accurate charts that are automatically - on a daily or weekly basis - "pushed" to the smartphones of every surgeon, their schedulers and the administrative personnel responsible for managing OR utilization. In addition to providing key statistics on utilization, first case on-time starts, cancellations, cases running long, etc., it creates a high level of awareness in the minds of each surgeon about their utilization performance both in absolute terms as well as relative to their peers. Surgeons are data driven, fact based and competitive; accurate, transparent, automated feedback will go a long way toward improving the utilization even if nothing else was to change.
The data exists and is being used: Several factors need to go into determining a fair and equitable allocation of blocks on a periodic basis. Instead of using historical rules for how blocks have been allocated and redistributed, hospitals can now methodically match supply (e.g., regularly underutilized blocks) to demand based on sophisticated forecasting and predictions for blocks, staff and rooms. This is possible because the necessary data exists within the EHR/scheduling system, e.g., historical scheduling data by surgery (the date, time, type, surgeon, room, duration) and the corresponding surgeon-specific performance metrics.
Forward thinking governance/leadership: Hospital leadership is not just more tech savvy today than it was 10 years ago; an increasing number of CEOs, CIOs, COOs and CMIOs are now not only open to looking at new technologies but are requiring their teams to go through process transformation through data, lean methodologies and sophisticated analytics.
There isn't much choice: The demand for medical services has never been stronger, and it's only going to increase. ORs will have to do more surgeries and get reimbursed less per unit for them.
More healthcare providers are realizing that their operations need a data-driven, scientific overhaul to accomplish efficient and effective OR scheduling. The software and resources are finally available to help achieve such a transformation.
Sanjeev Agrawal is president and chief marketing officer of LeanTaaS iQueue. Sanjeev was Google's first head of product marketing. Since then, he has had leadership roles at three successful startups: CEO of Aloqa, a mobile push platform (acquired by Motorola); VP Product and Marketing at Tellme Networks (acquired by Microsoft); and as the founding CEO of Collegefeed (acquired by AfterCollege). Sanjeev graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an EECS degree from MIT and along the way spent time at McKinsey & Co. and Cisco Systems. He is an avid squash player and has been named by Becker's Hospital Review as one of the top entrepreneurs innovating in Healthcare.
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