Case Study: Managing Shifts in Outpatient Surgeries

To help an Academic Medical Center manage outpatient growth, LENS designed an integrated and flexible procedural suite with discrete inpatient and outpatient operating models.

As the number of inpatient procedures shifting to outpatient care continues to increase—as much as 60 percent in some hospitals—keeping up with this kind of growth can cause a strain on staffing, and space. Many inpatient suites wind up serving double duty, managing outpatient cases in a department run to meet inpatient needs. There are many benefits of sharing duties across inpatient and outpatient teams—most notably, improved resource distribution and enhanced cross-training.


As a result, we found at an Academic Medical Center, their inpatient care teams were tasked with managing outpatient procedures, unnecessarily slowing down prep, procedure and recovery times.

Our strategists discovered that inpatient care teams took an average of 52% longer to manage outpatient care when compared with identical procedures performed in outpatient units.

This prevalence of overtreatment was profoundly impacting staffing, patient load, quality and cost of care. Our team evaluated future resource needs by allocating projected total annual case minutes by procedure type. Traditionally, surgery teams allocate resources by procedure time—underestimating the resources required for frequent high turn cases, such as Ophthalmology—leaving underutilized OR space at the end of the day.


Specialized Trauma Rooms and Cardiovascular Rooms were assigned. Inpatient and outpatient rooms were reallocated first via our Demand Calculator tool and then by working with the nurses and surgeons using Legos to group compatible procedures into shared operating rooms.

A floor plan was developed that allowed teams to share resources, such as operating rooms and sterile cores, while designing separate prep and recovery suites and discrete operating models for inpatient and outpatient needs. This plan allows the hospital to accommodate shifts in volumes daily and over time while maintaining the quality and convenience of care.