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Anesthesiology. 2003 May;98(5):1243-9.

Operating room utilization alone is not an accurate metric for the allocation of operating room block time to individual surgeons with low caseloads.

Author information

1
Division of Management Consulting, Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Many surgical suites allocate operating room (OR) block time to individual surgeons. If block time is allocated to services/groups and yet the same surgeon invariably operates on the same weekday, for all practical purposes block time is being allocated to individual surgeons. Organizational conflict occurs when a surgeon with a relatively low OR utilization has his or her allocated block time reduced. The authors studied potential limitations affecting whether a facility can accurately estimate the average block time utilizations of individual surgeons performing low volumes of cases.

METHODS:

Discrete-event computer simulation.

RESULTS:

Neither 3 months nor 1 yr of historical data were enough to be able to identify surgeons who had persistently low average OR utilizations. For example, with 3 months of data, the widths of the 95% CIs for average OR utilization exceeded 10% for surgeons who had average raw utilizations of 83% or less. If during a 3-month period a surgeon's measured adjusted utilization is 65%, there is a 95% chance that the surgeon's average adjusted utilization is as low as 38% or as high as 83%. If two surgeons have measured adjusted utilizations of 65% and 80%, respectively, there is a 16% chance that they have the same average adjusted utilization. Average OR utilization can be estimated more precisely for surgeons performing more cases each week.

CONCLUSIONS:

Average OR utilization probably cannot be estimated precisely for low-volume surgeons based on 3 months or 1 yr of historical OR utilization data. The authors recommend that at surgical suites trying to allocate OR time to individual low-volume surgeons, OR allocations be based on criteria other than only OR utilization (e.g., based on OR efficiency).

PMID:
12717148
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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