Hospitals and health systems continue to face challenges in accommodating a growing number of patients and procedures.
Expanding physical facilities is costly and often impossible. During this interview, LeanTaaS founder and CEO Mohan Giridharadas discussed the power of digital, math-driven solutions to unlock the capacity hospitals already have.
As the co-creator of one such solution, used by hundreds of hospitals across the US, Giridharadas shares key insights on capacity challenges and ways to address them.
Register for the Becker’s Healthcare and LeanTaaS Transform: Better Healthcare Through Math Hospital Operations Virtual Summit to discuss optimizing capacity management both now and in the future. Learn how health systems all across the U.S. use AI and both predictive and prescriptive analytics tools to transform their processes and create significant, lasting improvements in their outcomes. RSVP for the summit here.
Question: What problem is LeanTaaS solving in the healthcare industry, and why is it so important?
Mohan Giridharadas: Ten years ago, I founded the company that would become LeanTaaS on an algorithm designed to optimally match supply with demand. The goal initially was to help organizations across industries use this tool to make the most of their assets. We eventually realized the issue of capacity management was especially critical in healthcare, where fixed assets are particularly expensive to buy or build and return on those investments is uncertain. As demand for healthcare is volatile, and also increasing in the US given an ageing and growing population, effectively matching it with a fixed supply of treatment capacity is almost impossible without support. LeanTaaS offers that support, with math-driven technology.
We have since realized an enormous financial impact for over 100 health systems who optimize their capacity management, impact of added revenue of $500k per OR per year, $20k per infusion chair per year and $9k per inpatient bed per year. In addition to financial impact, we also see ~25% improvement in nurse satisfaction, ~50% lower overtime hours, ~10% improvement in labor costs and ~25% reduction in patient wait times.
Q: What has the COVID-19 pandemic changed in the approach to capacity management? How will the events of the past year impact this in the future?
MG: When managing COVID-19 and its effects, hospitals had to kickstart their use of technology and digital tools. We saw this most obviously in the expansion of telemedicine, but it showed in capacity management as well. Existing challenges with inpatient and surgical capacity were magnified by both the pandemic and its aftermath, as space for urgent inpatient cases rapidly became critical and outpatient and surgical backlogs grew. Staff couldn’t continue to rely on the manual methods they’d used every day to manage capacity in the past: they needed support from technology, and analytics tools that turn their facility’s unique data into dynamic scheduling templates. I see this use of technology to support capacity management, along with other operational and clinical needs, continuing into the future.
Q: What are the limits to healthcare technology today? What do you think health systems need the most?
MG: The data analytics solutions currently available range in power from being descriptive, or simply showing users the problem and allowing them to “admire” it, to those that can turn the data into prescriptive actions to create value. EHRs and other tools with data dashboards have their own functions they fulfill, but they tend to fall toward the descriptive end of that spectrum. They don’t necessarily support powerful decisions quickly. But the further hospitals and providers are able to move toward prescriptive analytics, the faster they can take directed action and the more benefits they will experience. Our goal is to offer tools that provide this, simply and without undue maintenance, so hospitals and health systems can affect meaningful change.
Q: What are some results that have surprised you, from your partners and customers?
MG: Our health systems have consistently achieved success, but surprisingly several saw improved results even during times of restricted capacity in the past year. Dignity CommonSpirit, in the heart of the pandemic, achieved $40M in realized opportunity as a result of 9% increase in staffed room utilization; SUNY Update University Medical Center developed a 3.4% improvement in volume through the same time; and MultiCare Health System achieved 15% improvement in case volume absorbed. These health systems delivering such powerful results during an especially challenging time makes me look forward to what we can help them accomplish with capacities largely restored to normal levels.
Q: Where can readers go to learn more?
MG: We’re hosting our first Hospital Operations Summit, TRANSFORM, on June 29th-30th. The conference is free and takes place online. Several of our major healthcare partners will be there to discuss their strategies and success, along with hundreds of other healthcare and technology leaders attending as guests. Registration is available here. You can also learn more about LeanTaaS by visiting our Resource Center.