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UHealth IT Wins CIO 100 Award for Fourth Straight Year

Foundry’s CIO recognized a project that uses AI-generated notifications to improve the efficiency of operating room scheduling.

When the UHealth – University of Miami Health System Information Technology (IT) team conceived of the Proactive OR Block Time Management Algorithm (POBTMA), they weren’t trying to win any awards. They just wanted to solve a problem.

As it turns out, they did both.

For the fourth year in a row, Foundry’s CIO has named UHealth IT a CIO 100 award winner, recognizing POBTMA’s business value and innovative use of technology.

Four doctors performing surgery in the operating room
The UHealth IT team’s POBTMA system increased O.R. block use by 16%.

“The CIO 100 Symposium & Awards continues a tradition of over 25 years of the highest quality content for IT leaders and their teams. In addition to celebrating 100 organizations during the dinner and awards ceremony, I am thrilled to feature many of these IT leaders as speakers,” stated Elizabeth Cutler, content director, CIO 100 Symposium & Awards. “The award-winning teams share a passion for excellence, a customer-centric mindset, and drive to invest in technologies that elevate business value.”

David W. Reis, Ph.D., UHealth senior vice president and chief information and digital officer, described the award as “the IT Super Bowl.”

Boosting Operating Room Scheduling Efficiency

POBTMA improves the efficiency of operating room scheduling by allowing communication between the two independent systems that track surgeons’ planned time off (Workday ERP) and the O.R. schedule (UChart), respectively.

“We owned that information in two separate systems and they weren’t talking to each other,” said David Arnold, M.D., professor of otolaryngology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and chief of surgery and chief medical officer at the Lennar Foundation Medical Center.

The lack of communication resulted in unused O.R. blocks because UChart didn’t know when surgeons entered vacation time in Workday ERP and would be away during their allotted surgery time.

“Surgical staff were faced with time delays in receiving the surgeon’s planned time off due to inefficient communication practices,” said Chief Medical Informatics Officer Maritza Suarez, M.D, also associate professor of medicine at the Miller School.

UHealth IT Chief Enterprise Architect Ravi Akkiraju and UHealth IT Optimization Senior Manager Chantal Dumas devised the POBTMA algorithm. POBTMA compares surgeons’ planned time off in Workday with their surgery schedules in UChart and sends AI-generated, real-time notifications when it identifies an open O.R. block. O.R. schedulers can then claim the block for another surgeon.

“By integrating two independent software systems and leveraging artificial intelligence to provide notifications, we enhanced our enterprise intelligence and addressed several components of information synthesis,” Akkiraju said.

Measurable Increase in O.R. Block Use

The project’s impact was obvious in the months after implementation. POBTMA resulted in 204 reallocated O.R. hours and a 16% increase in block utilization in the project’s first four months.

“When analyzing historical information from the same time period, the data showed the number of manually released blocks increased significantly, from 65 to 265 in just one facility four months post-implementation,” Dumas said. “We increased our workforce productivity by four-fold.”

That productivity boost stems from the instantaneous nature of the AI notifications. Prior to the notifications, O.R. schedulers had to manually find and fill open blocks. POBTMA sends open-block notifications the moment it identifies them, which allows schedulers to fill them quickly.

“POBTMA is a great example of the teamwork that defines our work at the Miller School,” Dr. Arnold said. “We were able to make this improvement because we got the clinical people, the IT people, the doctors and the nurses all in one room, working together and moving in the same direction. That’s how we serve our patients best.”

The UHealth IT team won the CIO 100 Award last year for adding Epic electronic medical record system capabilities to the Game Changer vehicles operated by Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The 2022 CIO award was for technological advances in remote patient monitoring. The 2021 award recognized COVID-19 vaccination process automations to ensure that the inoculations could be administered swiftly and safely.

Tags: CIO 100 Award, Dr. David Arnold, Information Technology