EHC Insights

SUPER: Utilization Optimization

Analysis and interpretation of utilization is a foundational component of identifying opportunities for Operating Room efficiency and monitoring progress of improvement initiatives. The most common methodologies for calculating utilization are “pure” utilization (actual patient in room time divided by staffed time) or “turnover time added” (allocating a standard turnover time between cases performed in a given OR). For purposes of an OR efficiency analysis, the turnover added approach is recommended by the EHC team to accurately account for the resources and time required for turnover. To quantify performance, we recommend benchmarking results, but it is important to ensure that the comparison data is captured and analyzed identically.

Since operating room time is so expensive, the goal is to be productive (patient in room) with as much of the staffed time as possible. However, this goal must also be viewed from the perspective of the local competitive environment. As utilization improves, available time to accommodate new surgeons and add-on cases diminishes. Therefore, facilities in competitive markets may be best served by setting a lower utilization threshold to allow for more open capacity. We recommend facilities benchmark baseline utilization and then interpret the results and potential to maximize efficiencies. This information must be viewed through the big picture business strategy lens (identifying growth opportunities, local market dynamics, local surgeon practice patterns, etc.) to set utilization targets at each facility. Enhance Healthcare provides benchmarked utilization analysis and can assist with development of a customized OR business strategy to optimize utilization for your specific needs.

To learn more about optimizing the utilization of your OR, please reach out to us at

Written by:
Robert Stiefel, MD