Comparing Clinical Productivity of Anesthesiology Groups

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BackgroundIntergroup comparisons of clinical productivity are important for strategic planning and evaluation of clinical and business operations. However, in a preliminary study, comparisons of two anesthesiology groups using “per full-time equivalent” measurements were confounded by different concurrencies or staffing ratios, whereas measurements based on “per operating room (OR) site,” “per case,” and “billed American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) units per hour of care” permitted meaningful comparisons despite differing concurrencies. The purpose of this study was to determine whether these measurements would allow for meaningful comparisons when applied to multiple groups.MethodsAnnual totals of total ASA units (tASA), 15-min time units, and the number of cases billed, as well as the average number of daily anesthetizing sites (OR sites) staffed and the average number of anesthesiologists required to the staff sites, were collected from each group that participated. All anesthesia care billed with ASA units was included, except for obstetric care. Any clinical service not billed using ASA units was excluded. Productivity measurements (concurrency, tASA/OR site, hours billed per OR site per day, hours billed per case, tASA billed per hour of anesthesia care, and base units per case) were calculated. Median and range for all groups and for private-practice and academic groups were determined.ResultsEleven private-practice and nine academic groups from 12 states participated in the study. Productivity measurements that are influenced by duration of surgery (hours billed per case, tASA billed per hour of anesthesia care) differed significantly between groups, with private-practice groups having shorter duration than academic groups (median hours billed per case, 1.5 vs. 2.6, respectively). Although tASA/OR site measurements were similar in private-practice and academic groups, academic groups worked significantly longer hours billed per OR site per day (median, 6.0 h vs. 7.8, respectively) to achieve the same level of tASA/OR site. Hourly billing productivity (tASA billed per hour of anesthesia care) correlated highly with surgical duration (hours billed per case).ConclusionThis study demonstrates a method of comparing departmental clinical productivity between anesthesiology groups. Private-practice groups provided care for cases of shorter duration than academic groups. This difference was evident in several productivity measurements.

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