Staffing and case scheduling for anesthesia in geographically dispersed locations outside of operating rooms

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Scheduling and staffing for anesthetics outside of the operating room that are geographically dispersed is different than for operating room cases. Whereas methods to predict how long such cases take were published recently, this article reviews staffing and case scheduling.

Recent findings

Methods have been developed based on the assumption that physicians doing procedures requiring anesthesia are provided open access to anesthesia time within a reasonable number of days (e.g., 2 weeks) or on any future workday. The latter is commonly used in operating rooms. Outside of operating rooms, the former is more practical economically. Statistical forecasting of anesthesia staffing months ahead is conducted by using billing data with the objective of maximizing the efficiency of use of anesthesia time. Calculations assume that anesthesia time that would otherwise be underutilized is released for use by services that would otherwise work in overutilized anesthesia time. Forecasting is different for services with many patients hospitalized preoperatively (e.g., electroconvulsive therapy). Implementation encourages longer-term changes benefiting the anesthesia group (e.g., services choose to work longer hours for fewer days of the week).

Summary

Plan staffing based on providing open access to anesthesia time within a reasonable number of days (e.g., 2 weeks). Schedule cases and release allocated time based on reducing overutilized anesthesia time.

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