Understanding the impact of key metrics on operating room (OR) efficiency is important to optimize utilization and reduce costs, particularly in freestanding ambulatory surgery centers. The aim of this study was to assess the association between commonly used efficiency metrics and scheduled end-time accuracy.
Data from patients who underwent surgery from May 2018 to June 2019 at an academic freestanding ambulatory surgery center was extracted from the medical record. Unique operating room days (ORDs) were analyzed to determine (1) duration of first case delays, (2) turnover times (TOT), and (3) scheduled case duration accuracies. Spearman’s correlation coefficients and mixed-effects multivariable linear regression were used to assess the association of each metric with scheduled end-time accuracy.
There were 1378 cases performed over 300 unique ORDs. There were 86 (28.7%) ORDs with a first case delay, mean (standard deviation [SD]) 11.2 minutes (15.1 minutes), range of 2–101 minutes; the overall mean (SD) TOT was 28.1 minutes (19.9 minutes), range of 6–83 minutes; there were 640 (46.4%) TOT >20 minutes; the overall mean (SD) case duration accuracy was −6.6 minutes (30.3 minutes), range of −114 to 176; and there were 389 (28.2%) case duration accuracies ≥30 minutes. The mean (SD) scheduled end-time accuracy was 6.9 minutes (68.3 minutes), range of −173 to 229 minutes; 48 (15.9%) ORDs ended ≥1 hour before scheduled end-time and 56 (18.6%) ORDs ended ≥1 hour after scheduled end-time. The total case duration accuracy was strongly correlated with the scheduled end-time accuracy (r = 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84-0.89, P < .0001), while the total first case delay minutes (r = 0.12, 95% CI, 0.01-0.21, P = .04) and total turnover time (r = −0.16, 95% CI, 0.21-0.05, P = .005) were less relevant. Case duration accuracy had the highest association with the dependent variable (0.95 minutes changed in the difference between actual and schedule end time per minute increase in case duration accuracy, 95% CI, 0.90-0.99, P < .0001), compared to turnover time (estimate = 0.87, 95% CI, 0.75-0.99, P < .0001) and first case delay time (estimate = 0.83, 95% CI, 0.56-1.11, P < .0001).
Standard efficiency metrics are similarly associated with scheduled end-time accuracy, and addressing problems in each is requisite to having an efficient ambulatory surgery center. Pursuing methods to narrow the gap between scheduled and actual case duration may result in a more productive enterprise.