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UCHealth Leverages ML Unfilled Block Predictions to Achieve 80% OR Utilization
19 Days average proactive releases
49% Release fill rate
80% OR utilization


Based in Colorado, UCHealth consists of 12 hospitals across Colorado, with four ambulatory surgery centers. It has 6,000 affiliated or employed providers and 28,000 employees. Across its 140 operating rooms, it performs 85,000+ procedures performed per year, and 28,000+ surgical procedures in the southern Colorado region.

UCHealth had previously adopted LeanTaaS’ iQueue for Operating Rooms solution to improve OR utilization, but needed further support to predict and communicate upcoming open block time among its surgeons and staff.


12 hospitals across Colorado

4 ASCs, 140 operating rooms

6,000 providers, 28,000 employees

85,000+ surgical procedures per year


UCHealth faced several challenges resulting from a lack of timely and transparent reporting of block time use.

  • Surgeon schedulers routinely were not proactively releasing block time in a timely manner, and there wasn’t enough to backfill open time, especially given a short auto-release period
  • There was no room in the schedule to accommodate non-block holders or surgeons without enough block time to work through the patient backlogs that had resulted from postponing procedures during the pandemic
  • Managers were unaware of when surgeons planned to not use their time and they were unable to prepare for room closures in advance to accommodate staffing
  • Surgeons who were unable to manage their backlogs at the expected rate were further frustrated with last-minute unfilled ORs

UCHealth needed an effective solution that would let schedulers and surgeons know when there was likely to be block time that needed to be filled or released. This would assist to increase OR utilization and revenue overall, a goal critical to recovering from the aftereffects of the COVID pandemic.


To help run ORs efficiently in the face of staffing challenges and improve utilization overall, surgical leaders at UCHealth worked alongside their LeanTaaS partners to develop a tool called “Predicted Availability Report", within iQueue for Operating Rooms. This entailed a daily report, emailed early in the morning, showing daily statistical predictions for upcoming OR blocks that are most likely to be used 25% or less. For more convenient use by specific schedulers, the report is further broken down by date, location, block holder, and statistical confidence level (90%, 95%, and 99%) for the block owner to use less than 25% of their block. Using this information, scheduling supervisors, schedulers, and block holders could communicate effectively to either fill or release the unused blocks.

Download the full iQueue for Operating Rooms case study booklet

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