Association of Reduced Delay in Care With a Dedicated Operating Room in Pediatric Otolaryngology

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Abstract

Importance

Obtaining sufficient operating room time for inpatient consults requiring an operative intervention is a persistent challenge for otolaryngologists.

Objective

To examine the institution of an otolaryngology-specific operating room (OR) for unscheduled (add-on) cases for its association with time from initial consultation to surgery and, secondarily, to determine utilization of a dedicated block of time.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Retrospective review of medical records of a tertiary care pediatric hospital for patients treated between January 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016; analysis was concluded by June 2016. Included were all patients undergoing inpatient otolaryngology consultations who required nonemergency operative procedures.

Interventions

In August 2015, a once-weekly 5-hour block of OR time dedicated to inpatient otolaryngology consults was instituted. Prior to this, cases were placed on an add-on list shared between all surgical services.

Main Outcomes and Measures

It was hypothesized that institution of a dedicated block of OR time would decrease the time from initial consultation to operative intervention and would be utilized at a high rate. Operating room utilization was calculated by dividing scheduled OR time by actual OR time utilized. Time from initial consultation to OR intervention was compared before and after the institution of the dedicated OR block.

Results

A total of 316 inpatient add-on pediatric cases (including 108 patients from the intensive care unit [ICU]) were scheduled during the study period. The most common cases were microlaryngoscopy/bronchoscopy (79%) and tracheostomy (8%). Mean (SD) time between consultation and OR intervention was 7.8 (1.6) days prior to establishing the add-on OR and 4.4 (1.3) days after it was established (absolute difference of 3.4 days; 95% CI, 3.1-3.7 days). Mean (SD) time between consultation and OR intervention was 7.4 (5.0) days for ICU patients prior to intervention and 5.6 (3.0) days after intervention (absolute difference of 1.8 days; 95% CI, 1.6-2.0 days). Total utilization of the OR block time was 74%, and adjusted utilization was 86%. There was a 15% drop in the number of unscheduled add-on cases after the intervention (from 10 cases/mo to 8.5 cases/mo; absolute difference of 1.5 cases; 95% CI, 1.1-1.9 cases).

Conclusions and Relevance

Instituting a dedicated otolaryngology add-on OR was associated with significantly reduced time between initial consultation and operative care, by approximately 3 days, decreased the number of unscheduled add-on cases, and was utilized at a high level.

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