Capstone Projects

Optimization of Operating Room Utilization at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Program: Data Science Master's
Host Company: Children's Hospital Colorado
Location: Colorado (remote)
Student: Phil Callahan

One of the most valuable services a hospital provides is surgery. Surgical procedures bring in more revenue than any other department for nearly all hospitals. Due to this criticality, all system functions in the perioperative department have higher visibility. Even the smallest improvements can have extreme economic implications for its healthcare facility. Controlling this bottom line can help fund other hospital areas and contribute to its overall fiscal wellbeing. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO) is no exception to these rules. This client-based capstone project applied analytic techniques and data science to explore their surgical procedure/case scheduling and operating room (OR) utilization. Using historical OR data, this paper documented the building of a programmatic tool which uncovered novel insights into OR usage. The tool compared trends between parameters like surgical specialties/departments, surgeons, weekdays, or ORs by aggregating temporal surgical case buildup leading up to the procedure date. 

Even by comparing records from a limited dataset, the project uncovered key scheduling differences between surgeons, weekdays, and ORs, proving the need for additional investigation. Further insights into OR scheduling would help optimize profitability in this vital area for CHCO, thus improving overall patient quality of care.