LeanTaaS aims to bring smarter scheduling to more hospitals

The California-based company said its software solutions can ease headaches for staff and patients and help generate more revenue. Company leaders are optimistic about their prospects for growth.

Katie Kean, a nurse manager at the Rush University Cancer Center, said the stress was growing.

Rush has been expanding hours and staffing at the cancer center. As the center took in more patients, scheduling became more challenging and nurses were increasingly battling burnout.

But Rush recently began using iQueue scheduling software from LeanTaaS, a California-based healthcare analytics software company. The iQueue system has made scheduling appointments for infusion centers much more manageable, Kean said.

The system predicts times of peak demand and when there will be fewer patients, enabling Rush to deploy staff more efficiently.

The iQueue system “really helps us stay organized and meet the needs of the high demand of our space,” she said.

“It’s helping us optimize our schedule and meet the demands of that patient growth,” she said.

LeanTaaS is banking on its data science and software scheduling solutions to drive the company’s growth. LeanTaaS has contracts with more than 420 hospitals and 110 healthcare systems.

Sanjeev Agrawal, president and chief operating officer of LeanTaaS, said in a recent media roundtable the company has continued to grow even during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Agrawal said he is projecting more growth in the future.

“This is the right time,” he said.

‘Unlocking capacity’

The company offers iQueue scheduling solutions for infusion centers, operating rooms and in-patient volume.

Healthcare systems are still struggling to find ways to serve more patients and unlock their full capacity, said Mohan Giridharadas, founder and CEO of LeanTaaS.

“Unlocking capacity is a deceptively hard problem,” he said in a recent roundtable. It involves understanding the dynamics of supply and demand, which can change every day.

Ride-share companies have figured out how to do it, Giridharadas said, but “health systems by and large do not.”

“It’s a problem urgently in need of being solved,” he said.

Giridharadas pointed to Atlanta’s airport and how it handles thousands of flights a day, compared to the hundreds of flights departing and arriving in the 1980s.

“Imagine if we could do that with our technology for healthcare systems,” he said.

If better technology enables healthcare systems to schedule and serve more patients, he said, “That will change the dynamics of how hospitals operate.”

LeanTaas utilizes data and predictive analytics to improve scheduling. With better management and scheduling of operating rooms and infusion centers, healthcare systems can serve patients better and improve their finances, potentially generating millions more in revenue, Giridharadas said.

The company says its operating room system can generate an improvement of $500,000 in revenue per OR annually.

In 2020, Novant Health began using LeanTaaS’ iQueue system in more than 100 operating rooms across North Carolina. Angela Yochem, executive vice president at Novant Health, said the software vastly improved the scheduling of surgeries. For years, staff have been scheduling manually.

“It's a really neat set of tools,” Yochem said in a roundtable with LeanTaaS executives last month. “It is a next generation set of capabilities that they provide.”

Yochem said the software helps hospitals have the right teams in place for surgeries. The system also eliminates some of the noise and stress involved in scheduling and allows doctors and nurses more time to focus on caring for patients.

“It’s a game changer for anyone who is actively conducting surgery,” Yochem said.

The iQueue software spots trends in the types of surgeries and how long different surgeons take on certain procedures, Agrawal said.

“We predict more effectively the length of case, type of surgeon, to accommodate more procedures in the same 8-hour periods,” he said. “It helps you look forward”

“We’re predicting and prescribing the right action.”

With the pandemic, hospital systems have been hammered financially. Healthcare systems have seen higher labor and supply expenses even as they treat waves of new COVID-19 patients. Understandably, some health systems are reluctant to invest in new technology.

Agrawal acknowledged the challenge and said LeanTaaS will reimburse hospital systems if they don’t deliver on value.

“They need partners willing to co-share the risk with them,” Agrawal said. “The first way to stand up and get trust is to say, if it doesn’t work, we don’t deserve to get paid.”

Offering new insights

The software can also address the problem of the mid-day peak for treatment at cancer centers, said Ashley Joseph, vice president of client services for infusion centers at LeanTaaS.

Demand at infusion centers can peak in the middle of the day, often at a time when some staff also need to get lunch. The iQueue system uses a patented algorithm to load patients better, Joseph said.

While block schedules can work for tennis courts, it’s not practical at infusion centers. If a patient is still getting treatment past their scheduled time, nurses can’t tell the patient it’s time to stop.

“We mathematically look at the trends in each center,” Joseph said. “We look at all of the details of how many patients come in for how long, how many come on time, and how many come in late. We create this optimal schedule that goes away from block scheduling.”

The iQueue system works with hospitals’ electronic health record systems, so hospitals don’t need to worry about changing their record systems, Joseph said.

The system has made a marked difference at Rush’s cancer center, Kean said.

“We could never keep up with what we were doing if it weren’t for iQueue,” she said. “The insight into the peaks of our day is just so much more apparent.”

In addition to easing headaches for staff, the system serves patients better, Kean said.

“It doesn’t serve the patients’ needs if we ask them to come at 11 and we can’t serve them until 1,” she said.

Recently, Kean said the scheduling system projected that an upcoming Monday was going to be packed, while there were nurses who were available on another day. Kean said staff were able to get patients to reschedule and avoided a log jam.

“It gives us insight into our data in a way that we’ve never had before,” Kean said. “It lets us be proactive instead of reactive.”