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Kansas Health System Boosts OR Efficiency with Epic-Linked Digital Tool



The University of Kansas Health System is located in Kansas City and is an academic medical center with multiple offices throughout Kansas. The Kansas City Health System Operation has 52 operating rooms and handles over 35,000 cases per year across all service lines.


Growth exceeded capacity.

“Average block utilization in the healthcare system was 51% and we were much better at allocating and using our resources,” said Megan Eubanks, Senior Director of Business Operations, Perioperative and Procedural Services. “As a Level I trauma center, we have a significant amount of add-ons, and they can only be placed if time is available.

“In the past, we were dependent on surgeons or services to release them at certain times, which is not always the case,” she continued. “One of our biggest barriers was the lack of information about available OR hours, as well as reliable data and block management policies.”

She added that after analyzing the workflows and technologies of the healthcare system, it became clear that the organization needed software designed specifically to solve the problems of access and use of operating rooms, as well as a provider focused on partnerships and development.


The University of Kansas Health System turned to healthcare IT provider LeanTaaS and its iQueue operating room software, which is designed to digitize workflow, streamline planning and communication processes, and improve accuracy.

“The digital process results in fewer delays and a better understanding of when block time should be released, ultimately leading to higher surgeon engagement and satisfaction,” Eubanks said. “The platform also provides easy access to real-time data with rich granularity, crisp visualization, and prescriptive analytics.

“In addition, the team reached out to the vendor to access other KPIs and provide decision makers with easy access to metrics,” she continued. “The vendor will allow the team to more quickly identify free time in the operating room, show which block owners have overallocation, and identify opportunities for further improvement ahead of time.”

She added that having access to data from a “single source of truth” that all stakeholders can trust and rely on will help the surgical department structure around block management practices and policies.

“Using this information, the health care system wanted to increase OR usage, leverage new block reallocation opportunities for hiring surgeons, and improve the efficiency of OR workflows,” she said.


The University of Kansas Health System used the experience of LeanTaaS medical IT vendor in the perioperative area to create appropriate blocking policies that include “collection time” as a target metric for blocks of the correct size.

“We’re putting the iQueue for Operating Rooms data collection tool in the hands of department heads so they can manage block allocation themselves and continue to improve the use of their own departments,” Eubanks said. “In addition, surgeons have access to their own metrics to manage behavior and improve satisfaction.

“iQueue software integrates with our Epic EHR and provides an extra layer of intelligence,” she added. “This makes our EHR data more visible and actionable with predictive and prescriptive recommendations to optimize throughput and address key operational challenges.”


The University of Kansas Health System was able to increase overall block usage by 20%, prime time by nearly 5%, and overall volume by 8%—all while reducing available space by 7%.

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


If other healthcare providers are considering using technology to manage operating procedures related to OR access, surgical unit allocation and management, and overall usage and other performance metrics, Eubanks offers the following recommendations:

  • Clearly define your goals and objectives. Determine what specific problems you are trying to solve and what 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 choosing and implementing new systems, the key point is interest. This includes surgeons, surgical department administrators, IT professionals and clinical management who will be active daily users. By involving these stakeholders in the process, you can ensure that the system meets their needs and eliminates their pain points.

  • Choose a user-friendly system. The system you choose should provide information and workflows that are unique to the user base. Look for technology with a user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation. Be more simple.

  • Sell ​​and train early and often. It is critical to help end users understand what is behind the choice in order to provide support. Do your best to make operational users feel comfortable not only with the software, but also with the associated policies and procedures.

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

  • Checking the settings and integrating into the main system The software that supports the block management functions is an addition to the EHR workflows and enhances the functionality. It depends on the setup and build already developed in your existing environment. If one part does not work, it can damage the reputation of the data in both your electronic health record and additional software.

As for KU, “we’re not done yet,” Eubanks said. “iQueue has more features to help us use and manage our blocks here, such as determining how much underused time is truly “collected” and can be reused. I’m very excited to start working on this in the next few months.

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