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Anesth Analg. 1995 Dec;81(6):1263-8.

Decreases in anesthesia-controlled time cannot permit one additional surgical operation to be reliably scheduled during the workday.

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Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


We tested whether anesthesiologists can decrease operating room (OR) costs by working more quickly. Anesthesia-controlled time (ACT) was defined as the sum of 1) the time starting when the patient enters an OR until preparation or surgical positioning can begin plus 2) the time starting when the dressing is finished and ending when the patient leaves the OR. Case time was defined as the time starting when one patient undergoing an operation leaves an OR and ending when the next patient undergoing the same operation leaves the OR. An actual case series was constructed of 709 consecutive patients who underwent one of 11 elective operations at a tertiary care center. Statistical analysis of measured OR times showed that ACt would have to be decreased by more than 100% to permit one additional scheduled, short (30-min) operation to be performed in an OR during an 8-h workday after a prior series of cases, each lasting more than 45 min. Anesthesiologists alone cannot reasonably decrease case times sufficiently to permit one extra case to be reliably scheduled during a workday. Methods to decrease ACT (e.g., using preoperative intravenous catheter teams, procedure rooms, and/or shorter acting drugs) may simply increase costs.

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