Management and scheduling personnel at facilities expect that managing block time, sharing open availability with physician practices, and gathering data around block time will be a cumbersome task requiring tedious communication and time-consuming excel analysis. This mindset has led facilities to underutilize their ORs, which significantly impacts your ASC’s ability to generate revenue. Did you know that increasing OR utilization by even 5% can result in tens of thousands of dollars annually for an average-sized ASC? A more efficient block management tool can help you achieve this success.
Creating automation surrounding block time has not only facilitated a more seamless workflow around optimizing OR space, but it also can ultimately maximize annual recurring revenue (ARR) at the facility.
Reason #1: Efficiency – Utilizing an automated block time management tool will result in faster accuracy and minimize human error.
You can provide a more effective way for your staff to manage blocks from one screen by putting your facility’s recurring block schedule into an automated application that supports seamless block management (i.e., editing, releasing, deleting). This experience will not only result in a more efficient workflow but will also minimize human error. By automating unnecessary manual tasks, your staff can create a recurring view that ensures physician blocks are following the correct scheduled behavior, which can ultimately replace outdated spreadsheets and word documents. An automated system will improve workflow efficiency surrounding block time management, meaning your staff can spend more time working with surrounding practices to maximize OR utilization at the facility.
Reason #2: Communication – Creating automated transparency with practices will optimize block time and OR space.
By creating an automated block schedule for each physician, the facility can provide instantaneous communication and transparency with all surrounding practices in a HIPAA-compliant way, urging them to book more cases electronically within their assigned blocks. Ultimately, this provides physician practices with a more effortless scheduling experience, which can result in a higher % of scheduled cases at your facility vs. another.
An automated block management system can also auto-release unused block time and send open OR availability via email to physician practices so they can reserve time directly through the automated application. By streamlining this process, you always provide physician practices with real-time updates. By creating transparency with practices regarding a physician’s block schedule and open OR availability, your facility could increase case volume and ARR.
Reason #3: Trackable data – Identifying and tracking block utilization trends amongst physicians will result in more data-driven decisions.
Your facility can quickly identify block utilization trends per physician by tracking real-time data analytics. This will ultimately provide you with the data you need to make decisions for allocating block times in the future. In addition, having a system that can track unused block time can 1) provide a way to send automated reminders to physician practice schedulers based on the facility’s standard policy (i.e., 48-hour rule) and 2) allow physician practice’s the chance to review unused block time before allowing others to book within them. This will not only optimize the facility schedule by increasing OR utilization but also provide transparency to show which doctors are booking additional time outside their assigned blocks. Accurate data is essential when enforcing policies and monitoring physician utilization because it allows you to make valuable data-driven decisions, which is a key contributor to increasing ARR at the facility.
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