The OR scheduling office is an integral part of an efficient perioperative suite, but it is also one that is too often overlooked. OR Schedulers are not only responsible for booking each procedure, but they are often also responsible for managing every request to release time or request for additional time in the OR. The actions they take around releasing and allocating block time can lead to meaningful increases in case volume and revenue as well as surgeon and staff satisfaction.
With OR scheduling offices typically understaffed, this array and importance of responsibilities means that in many cases OR schedulers are short on time and overwhelmed. The process around managing block releases and requests often consists of receiving requests via phone call or email, tracking requests on Post-It notes or personal spreadsheets, and making phone calls to identify potential recipients of released time. With most of the day centered around entering surgical bookings into the EHR and the time-consuming nature of communicating updates and confirmations across multiple parties, the tracking and management of release and block time requests often take a back seat.
At Hospital IQ, one of the main goals of our Perioperative solution is to improve the process around releasing and requesting block time, not only from a surgeon’s perspective, but for the OR scheduling office as well. With our solution:
- Surgeons are prompted to release block time that has a high likelihood of being unused weeks in advance, giving other surgeons/service lines the opportunity to book cases in this time.
- Surgeons and their office staff can view available OR time and request it through an online marketplace that is accessible through a web and mobile platform
The introduction of these capabilities have increased the visibility and access that surgeons have to OR time, which improves their satisfaction and engagement. The positive impact that it has had the lives of OR schedulers who have adopted the software has been immediately apparent in many ways:
- OR Schedulers no longer need to manually track and update requests. All block release requests and requests for time are kept in a filterable, sortable interface that includes all relevant details and notes
- OR Schedulers no longer spend time calling surgeons trying to fill blocks because surgeons and their practice managers can find and request available time on the OR schedule and communicate through a single intuitive interface
- Released OR time can be automatically allocated to surgeons who have submitted a waitlist request, eliminating the prior disjointed processes and streamlining the communication back to the requesting surgeon
- Schedulers and Perioperative leadership have access to detailed reports on release and request behaviors, allowing them to make data-backed decisions on how time should be reallocated
Health systems that implement our Perioperative solution have used our predictive tools to improve access to operating rooms, helping them continually grow their case volume. While this has greatly benefited surgeons trying to book their cases, the increased agility and responsiveness that has been given to the OR Schedulers has ultimately improved patients’ experience as they are able to get their procedure’s schedule confirmed faster with the date of the procedure usually moving up because the OR is being better utilized.
Interested in learning more on how to efficiently schedule OR time and improve OR Scheduler satisfaction? Check out our on-demand webinar “Increase Surgeon Engagement and OR Efficiency.“