Endoscopic procedures are increasingly performed for children and adolescents and these interventions represent a central element of both pediatric gastroenterology (GI) care and revenues. It remains unclear, however, which scheduling paradigm maximizes efficiency of resource utilization and delivery of care in this arena. In this study, we evaluate the impact of shifting from shared endoscopy blocks to individual, provider-specific endoscopy blocks for scheduling endoscopic procedures in our tertiary care academic center.
The implemented endoscopy block system involves a single endoscopist performing procedures in an allocated room for the entire half-day period of time, with most providers having 1–3.5 day blocks per month. We analyzed block fragmentation (multiple providers in a single block), block utilization, and procedure volume, comparing the 8-month period prior to implementation of the block system (pre-implementation period) with the 8-month period following implementation of the block system (post-implementation period). Provider satisfaction and perceptions were assessed by survey pre- and post-implementation. Standard descriptive statistics were utilized for analysis.
In the pre- and post-implementation periods, 22 half-day blocks were allocated to pediatric GI. In the pre-implementation period, mean utilization of these blocks was 65.9% (range: 47%–77%). In the post-implementation period, mean % utilization was 79.8% (range: 64%–89%). Overall endoscopy procedure volume increased from 279 in the pre-implementation period to 419 in the post-implementation period. Provider perception of endoscopy efficiency was enhanced by the block system, with 68.4% of pediatric GI respondents rating endoscopy as “efficient” post-implementation (vs 19% pre-implementation) and 63.2% indicating that the block system directly enhanced efficiency. A total of 63.2% reported increased personal procedure volume and 84.2% reported perceived increase in overall procedure volume with block system implementation.
Strategic approaches for scheduling endoscopic procedures carry the potential to enhance efficiency and experience for both providers and patients. Implementation of the endoscopy block system was associated with increased procedure volumes and block utilization as well as a more positive experience for the majority of providers. Schedule adjustments with analysis of associated efficiency and satisfaction metrics can optimize pediatric endoscopy practice.