How Novant Health digitally transformed its operating room scheduling process: 5 insights

By March 3, 2021 August 7th, 2021 News

When it comes to operating room capacity management, hospitals and health systems are turning away from outdated methods such as pen and paper and turning to digital tools to streamline scheduling and supplies.

DuringĀ Becker‘s Virtual Conference Feb. 23, industry experts discussed fundamental problems in OR capacity management and how digital software and tools can help improve case reporting and the scheduling process.

The presenters were:

  • John Mann, MD, president and COO of Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center
  • Sanjeev Agrawal, president and COO of LeanTaaS

Five takeaways:

1. In April 2020, Novant Health tapped LeanTaaS to improve surgery scheduling and tackle three key OR capacity issues the health system had been experiencing even prior to the pandemic: access, accountability and visibility.

2. Novant Health launched LeanTaaS’ iQueue scheduling software within its operating rooms at the end of May, about a month and a half after the state suspended non time-sensitive surgeries.

“With the impact of COVID-19, our shutdown and decreased volumes and minutes, we realized that we really needed to be aggressive,” Dr. Mann said. “We wanted to accelerate our recovery so that when we resumed non time-sensitive surgery we could capture as many of those postponed cases as possible, and, ideally, we would differentiate ourselves from our competitors.”

3. LeanTaaS worked with Novant Health’s IT team to ensure the Epic EHR script required for rolling out the iQueue software was properly developed and ready to meet the organizations’ desired six-week go-live.

4. One big innovation of the deployment project was tracking the backlog in cases electronically, which, especially in a community setting, is still often tracked by providers writing them down on paper, Mr. Agrawal said.

“It’s 2021, even my shopping list is on Google Keep, and so the fact that we’re doing this on pencil and paper and faxes for something as important as surgical cases, we can do better than that,” he said.

5. LeanTaaS’ iQueue tool lets hospitals and health systems aggregate the surgical backlog across multiple community clinics and surgeons and streamlines access to the OR.

“When you create a system like this, with the competitiveness in the marketplace, the biggest currency you have as a community health system to attract surgical cases to your surgical center is access to the OR,” Mr. Agrawal said. “Being able to provide safe access has been a big deal.”