Kansas health system gains operating room efficiency with Epic-linked digital tool

Kansas health system gains operating room efficiency with Epic-linked digital tool

The University of Kansas Health System is based in Kansas City and is an academic medical center with multiple locations across Kansas. The health system operation in Kansas City has 52 operating rooms and handles more than 35,000 cases annually across all service lines.


Growth had exceeded capacity.

“The average healthcare system block utilization was 51%, and we were allocating and using our resources much better than that,” said Megan Eubanks, senior director of business operations in perioperative and procedural services. “As a Level I trauma center, we have a significant number of additions, and these can only be accommodated if time is freed up.

“In the past, we depended on surgeons or services with a block time to release it, which doesn’t always happen,” she continued. “One of our biggest hurdles was the lack of visibility into available operating room time, as well as credible data and policies around block management.”

After reviewing healthcare system workflows and technology, it was clear that the organization needed software that focused specifically on solve problems with access and use of the operating roomwith a supplier focused on partnership and development, she added.


The University of Kansas Health System turned to health informatics provider iQueue and its iQueue software for operating rooms, which is designed to digitize workflow, streamline planning processes and communication, and improve accuracy.

“The digital process results in fewer delays and more visibility into when block time needs to be released, which ultimately leads to higher surgeon engagement and satisfaction,” Eubanks said. “The platform also provides easy access to real-time data with detailed analytics, clear visualizations, and prescriptive analytics.

“In addition, the team looked to the vendor for access to other KPIs and to provide decision makers with easy access to metrics,” she continued. “The provider would allow the team to identify open time in the OR earlier, show which block owners have excess allocation, and proactively focus on opportunities for further operational improvement. .”

Access to data, from a “single source of truth” that all stakeholders could trust and rely on, would help the surgical department build structure around block management practices and policies , she added.

“Using this information, the healthcare system wanted to increase operating room utilization, take advantage of new block reassignment opportunities to recruit surgeons, and improve the efficiency of operating room workflows. “, she said.


The University of Kansas Health System leveraged the perioperative domain expertise of health informatics provider LeanTaaS to create appropriate block policies incorporating “time to collect” as a given metric to right-sized blocks .

“We put the iQueue for Operating Rooms collection tool in the hands of department managers, so they can independently manage block allocation and be able to continue improving usability with their own departments,” Eubanks said. “In addition, surgeons have access to their own metrics to drive behavior and increase satisfaction.

“The iQueue software integrates with our Epic EHR and provides an additional layer of intelligence,” she added. “It makes our DSE data more visible and actionable through prescriptive predictions and recommendations to optimize capacity and address key operational issues.”


The University of Kansas Health System was able to increase overall block usage by 20% overall, prime time by almost 5% overall, and overall volume by 8%, all with a reduction 7% of the available space.

“It indicates that we are using our space much better, which is very important,” Eubanks said. “Then we have a staggering 98% rate of proactive releases or time transfers, which is vital for access to the operating room. It’s exciting to see people so much more active in the system. “


If other healthcare provider organizations plan to use the technology to help manage operational processes related to operating room access, surgical room assignment and management, overall use and other performance measures, Eubanks offers the following guidance:

  • Clearly define your goals and objectives. Determine the specific problems you are trying to solve and the results you hope to achieve. This will help you evaluate different technologies, choose the one that best suits your needs, and prioritize your implementation strategy.

  • Involve key stakeholders. When selecting and implementing new systems, buy-in is essential. This includes surgeons, surgical department administration, IT and clinical management who will be active day-to-day users. By involving these stakeholders in the process, you can ensure that the system meets their needs and solves their problems.

  • Choose a user-friendly system. The system you choose should provide unique information and workflows to the user base. Look for technology that has an easy-to-access interface with intuitive navigation. Keep it simple.

  • Market and educate early and often. Helping end users understand “what’s in it for me” behind the selection is key to ensuring buy-in. Do your best to ensure that front-line users are comfortable not only with the software, but also with the associated policies and procedures.

  • Monitor and evaluate performance. Not only of the system, but ensuring that it meets the needs of the goals and objectives set at the beginning of the process. This will also help identify areas where improvements can be made.

  • Validate the settings and integrate the main system. Software that supports block management functions complements EHR workflows and provides enhancement and focus on functionality. It depends on the setting and construction already designed in your existing environment. If a part is off, it can damage the reputation of your EHR data and additional software.

As for KU, “we’re not done,” Eubanks said. “There are more features in iQueue to help us use and manage our blocks here, like identifying underutilized time that is truly ‘recoverable’ and reusable. I’m excited to really start on that in the coming months.

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Email the author: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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