Background: Within a hospital, the operating room (OR) is one of the most critical and expensive resources. Labor productivity is maximized by filling allocated surgical block time with as many hours of cases as possible. We have found that the intradepartmental block time release system at our institution has improved access to operating time, resulting in a substantial financial advantage within the department.

Methods: The annual charges and collections produced by the pick-up of intradepartmental released block time during the past 4 fiscal years (July 1-June 30) was assessed at both the main hospital and an outpatient surgical center.

Results: There is a general, year-over-year trend of increasing charges and collections from the intradepartmental release of OR time. The average gross collection rate for OR pick-up time is 30%, which matches the average collection rate of about 30% for our department. At the main inpatient hospital, the orthopaedic spine service typically comprises the mostreleased OR block time. In the outpatient setting, typically the orthopaedic hand service captures the most released OR block time.

Conclusions: The early release of allocated block time on an internal level may help schedule patients in an easier manner, with decreased patient wait times than other methods, and maintain the overall revenue within the department. Further studies that quantify surgeon satisfaction would help strengthen the use and validation of this system.

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