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Shannon Medical Center Increased Block Utilization by 14%


Located in San Angelo, Texas, Shannon Medical Center serves a 25-county region on the west side of the state, performing 11,000 surgeries per year in its 14 acute care Main ORs. Shannon Medical Center is part of the Shannon Health system, which was selected to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network because of its dedication to delivering quality care.


The operating room (OR) in Shannon Medical Center was already highly efficient, but still saw room to continually evolve and improve. Doing so became more urgent as surgical case volume was growing while surgeons struggled to find the capacity to accommodate it. Many worked outside of assigned block time, and cases had to be scheduled after prime hours. Surgeons were not well educated on OR data and did not tend to engage with it, so they could not clearly see underlying scheduling or capacity issues that would lead to lower utilization performance. Meanwhile the unpredictable schedules and late nights caused increasing concerns over staff burnout. Shannon Medical Center needed a platform to socialize key data to surgeons, allow schedulers to find and utilize more OR time within reasonable business hours, and support stronger overall performance as case volumes grew.


Shannon Medical Center began implementing AI-driven optimization solution iQueue for Operating Rooms at the end of July 2022, completing the process in the course of 9 weeks. OR leadership quickly began using iQueue data in daily huddle meetings, so they could communicate with surgeons and staff about ongoing performance and status. All stakeholders were engaged with data that was relevant to them, and could immediately take action to drive process improvements. iQueue reports on block utilization showed opportunities to improve this metric, and the modules Collect and Allocate displayed usable amounts of “Collectable Time” that had gone unused and the most effective ways to reallocate block time to those surgeons who had either previously worked without it, or had block time but needed more. At Shannon Medical Center, OR leadership focuses especially on improving FCOTS and turnover times, having determined that an improvement of just two minutes of turnover time per case, at $300 per minute, amounts to $5.4 million in annual savings. Leadership utilizes these metric tiles in iQueue’s Analyze module to stay abreast of the trends and take corrective action. The new solution also drove higher performance outcomes across the board, showing improved efficiency.


5% increase in prime time utilization
14% increase in block utilization
11% decrease in number of after hours cases, despite a 2% increase in case volume
10% decrease in turnover time
I’m not a math person, but I believe this data is more user-friendly and accurate than other reporting I’m used to…these Analyze tiles are now my favorite reports.
Rebecca Hartley, DNP, RN, CPAN, NEA-BC
Assistant Vice President of Surgery

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