One of the most common complaints we hear from surgeons after their recruiting process is that the hospital isn’t able to keep their promises related to block time. This can be due to a variety of issues: the negotiating team doesn’t talk to the Perioperative team to understand what is actually available, a 100% blocked OR schedule, politicization of block time hindering the hospital’s ability to reallocate, lack of sophisticated scheduling tools. Some hospitals may even have strict criteria that need to be met before they will give a surgeon block time, such as completing a certain number of cases or hours of surgery. Having criteria isn’t a bad thing…unless your new surgeon(s) can’t get OR time to be able to meet the criteria. Often a combination of all of the above leads to frustration on both sides.

On-Demand Webinar: Uncovering Hidden OR Time

These sub-optimal processes limit a surgeon’s ability to book OR time when they need it, despite administrators’ and clinicians’ best efforts. Hospital IQ’s answer is an online marketplace, hosted on the web and available from any computer, phone, or tablet, called Surgeon Access. Surgeon Access allows surgeons, or their office staff, to proactively request and release time while on the go. Surgeon Access brings transparency to the unused time on the block schedule, allowing surgeons to put more cases on. Additionally, having the information at a surgeon’s fingertips allows them to more confidently release block time they aren’t going to use. This increased transparency, combined with release recommendation nudges based on that surgeon’s historical booking patterns, encourages surgeons to proactively release block time early enough for another surgeon to fill it.

Furthermore, Surgeon Access can help hospitals go beyond just meeting their promises of OR time. It can help the hospital present a business plan that would seamlessly integrate the new surgeon(s) into the OR, including identifying optimal Clinic hours that would best fill the available OR time. But don’t just take it from me…

University Hospitals in Cleveland Ohio had been facing similar recruiting challenges. In a recent interview, Dr. Sabik, Department of Surgery Chair noted “when we hire a surgeon we don’t give them a lot of block time.” But with Surgeon Access, which they implemented in July of 2019, they are now able to give them access to open time. For instance, if a surgeon is going to a meeting when they have block time and they don’t release those blocks, they’re notified that their blocks are going unused and are requested for release. “That helps me [the surgeon] because if I don’t release them my utilization would go down, but also and more importantly it’s helping another surgeon, particularly a young surgeon who needs block time or who wants block time, access that open time. Over time by utilizing [Surgeon Access], new surgeons can grow their practice faster; they can do surgery when it works in their schedule and it helps them to get more block time in the long run.”

Perioperative leaders are looking for ways to attract and retain surgeons in order to maintain and grow surgical volume. By providing new surgeons with a means to have greater access to available OR time and prompting them to release potentially unused OR time, hospitals are able to improve OR utilization, maximize their resources, and increase surgeon engagement. To learn more about Hospital IQ’s online marketplace where surgeons can view and request available block time, check out our on-demand webinar “Uncovering Hidden OR Time.”

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