Operating Room Block Utilization Calculator and Analytics Dashboard

OR Block Tool

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To optimize scheduling of Operating Rooms, the available staffed hours in ORs are often divided up into “blocks”, which allow the hospital to set aside allocated block time to specific surgeons for booking their patients. “Block Utilization” is the key performance metric that looks at each individual block and indicates what percent of allocated block time is being utilized with actual OR case time.  Across the MedStar system, the hospitals varied significantly in their ability to accurately calculate Block Utilization. The metric definitions were inconsistent, the calculations were highly manual and laborious, and data validity was often disputed.  As a result, our institutions vocalized the need for a tool that can compute Block metrics reliably with minimal effort, so they can focus on navigating their results, drawing conclusions, and taking action to improve.


To address the needs of our entities, Matt designed an advanced Excel-based tool that can compute Block Utilization results by month for every block owner.  The user will update the tool with a few inputs (e.g. the current schedule of blocks), and the tool will perform all of the computations to produce a dashboard view of Block Utilization scores.  The tool facilitates effortless navigation of the results through drop-down menus. Since rolling out the Block Tool to all nine hospitals during July 2017, the overall MedStar system has been on a four-month consecutive trend upwards in Block Utilization, increasing from 51.5% to 60.2%. The data provided by the tool has enabled the OR Block Committees at each hospital to easily detect low-utilizer surgeons, make strategic changes to the scheduling of blocks, and share utilization results with their surgeons to facilitate accountability and healthy competition.


For a copy of the Block Utilization Tool, please contact Matt D’Agostino at matt.j.dagostino@medstar.net

Meet the MInnovator
Matt D'Agostino, Project Manager, Performance Improvement
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

What was your first job?
Matt: Part-time veterinary technician at a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in New Jersey. I started out as a volunteer with them in high-school.

What recent experience made you smile (at work)?
Matt: Recently I joined several of my colleagues from the System Performance Improvement department to go to the Maryland Food Bank to volunteer for a morning. It was a humbling experience, and we had a lot of fun working together as a team.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Matt: I’m inspired by empowering others. In this case, I created a tool with a user interface that allows clinicians to easily and autonomously navigate their own data and draw conclusions; I’ve made a sustainable impact.

What is your favorite movie?
Matt: Star Wars

What is one product you wish you had invented?
Matt: Telehealth technology

What do you hope happens when other people use your MInnovation?
My hope is that the hospitals use the data in the Block Tool as a starting point for them to ask themselves more questions about their performance that they can dig into. The more they can learn and discover about their performance, the more effectively they can optimize their operations and scheduling.

What's your next big idea?
Matt: Considering ways to utilize up-and-coming Augmented Reality (AR) technology in the healthcare arena.