Operating room management and strategies in Switzerland: results of a survey

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Background and objective:

Operating room management structures and interrelationships both within the operating suite and with other departments in the hospital can be very complex. Several different professional and support groups are represented that often have infrastructures of their own that may compete or conflict with the management hierarchy in the operating room. Today, there is often little actual management of the operating suite as an entity. We surveyed current operating room management in Switzerland.


A questionnaire was sent to the chief anaesthesiologists of all public hospitals in Switzerland. It asked for information about the structure, organization and management of operating rooms as well as respondents' opinions and expectations about management. Derived from both the literature and the results of the survey, a 'stages of excellence' model of best practice was developed.


The overall response rate was 70%. Most anaesthesiologists were unsatisfied with current management policies and structures in their operating rooms. Of the hospitals questioned, 40% did not have an information system at all for the operating rooms. The remaining 60% had an information system that allowed rough scheduling in 71%, but only a few had more sophisticated systems that enabled dynamic scheduling (19%), user-defined conflict checking (5%), administration of a subsequent patient transfer station (postanaesthesia care units, intensive medical care, intensive care units) (10%) or other more advanced uses. All hospitals questioned offered some type of ambulatory surgery in a 'hospital-integrated' manner (i.e. use of the same operating room for both in- and outpatient surgery), but none had implemented a more efficient system where outpatient surgery was performed in separate facilities.


Current management of the operating room in Switzerland is far from best-practice standards.

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