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BMC Surg. 2013 Mar 11;13:7. doi: 10.1186/1471-2482-13-7.

Operating room data management: improving efficiency and safety in a surgical block.

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  • 1Department of Emergency, Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit, Morgagni-Pierantoni Hospital, Forlì, Italy.



European Healthcare Systems are facing a difficult period characterized by increasing costs and spending cuts due to economic problems. There is the urgent need for new tools which sustain Hospitals decision makers work. This project aimed to develop a data recording system of the surgical process of every patient within the operating theatre. The primary goal was to create a practical and easy data processing tool to give hospital managers, anesthesiologists and surgeons the information basis to increase operating theaters efficiency and patient safety.


The developed data analysis tool is embedded in an Oracle Business Intelligence Environment, which processes data to simple and understandable performance tachometers and tables. The underlying data analysis is based on scientific literature and the projects teams experience with tracked data. The system login is layered and different users have access to different data outputs depending on their professional needs. The system is divided in the tree profile types Manager, Anesthesiologist and Surgeon. Every profile includes subcategories where operators can access more detailed data analyses. The first data output screen shows general information and guides the user towards more detailed data analysis. The data recording system enabled the registration of 14.675 surgical operations performed from 2009 to 2011.


Raw utilization increased from 44% in 2009 to 52% in 2011. The number of high complexity surgical procedures (≥120 minutes) has increased in certain units while decreased in others. The number of unscheduled procedures performed has been reduced (from 25% in 2009 to 14% in 2011) while maintaining the same percentage of surgical procedures. The number of overtime events decreased in 2010 (23%) and in 2011 (21%) compared to 2009 (28%) and the delays expressed in minutes are almost the same (mean 78 min). The direct link found between the complexity of surgical procedures, the number of unscheduled procedures and overtime show a positive impact of the project on OR management. Despite a consistency in the complexity of procedures (19% in 2009 and 21% in 2011), surgical groups have been successful in reducing the number of unscheduled procedures (from 25% in 2009 to 14% in 2011) and overtime (from 28% in 2009 to 21% in 2011).


The developed project gives healthcare managers, anesthesiologists and surgeons useful information to increase surgical theaters efficiency and patient safety. In difficult economic times is possible to develop something that is of some value to the patient and healthcare system too.

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