Use of Operating Room Information System Data to Predict the Impact of Reducing Turnover Times on Staffing Costs

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Potential benefits to reducing turnover times are both quantitative (e.g., complete more cases and reduce staffing costs) and qualitative (e.g., improve professional satisfaction). Analyses have shown the quantitative arguments to be unsound except for reducing staffing costs. We describe a methodology by which each surgical suite can use its own numbers to calculate its individual potential reduction in staffing costs from reducing its turnover times. Calculations estimate optimal allocated operating room (OR) time (based on maximizing OR efficiency) before and after reducing the maximum and average turnover times. At four academic tertiary hospitals, reductions in average turnover times of 3 to 9 min would result in 0.8% to 1.8% reductions in staffing cost. Reductions in average turnover times of 10 to 19 min would result in 2.5% to 4.0% reductions in staffing costs. These reductions in staffing cost are achieved predominantly by reducing allocated OR time, not by reducing the hours that staff work late. Heads of anesthesiology groups often serve on OR committees that are fixated on turnover times. Rather than having to argue based on scientific studies, this methodology provides the ability to show the specific quantitative effects (small decreases in staffing costs and allocated OR time) of reducing turnover time using a surgical suite’s own data.

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