Nearly half (49 percent) of hospital executives reported their operating room case volume increased in the past year, while 73 percent expect it to grow during the next year three years, according to a new survey from software firm Surgical Information Systems.
The results suggest that the growth in OR caseloads and associated costs will be fueled by both inpatient and outpatient procedures. Out of more than 142 hospital executives, 39 percent see inpatient OR case volume growing in the next three years, and 91 percent see outpatient OR case volume increasing.
Such growth was experienced firsthand by Ogden Regional Medical Center in Salt Lake City, which faced more demand for surgeries; it already was performing about 6,500 procedures a year, according to an announcement released last week.
To improve OR efficiency, the hospital updated its scheduling process and created an OR governance committee to develop policies and oversee the OR schedule. Thanks to the changes, Ogden Regional increased available open OR time from 11 percent to 20 percent and saw improved on-time starts for surgeries and room turnover between procedures.
Like Ogden Regional, hospitals must adequately prepare themselves for a surge in OR volume, especially as delays and inefficiencies can hurt their bottom lines. For example, a study published last summer in the Surgery journal found that longer gap times (from the time of case booking to surgery start time) led to a 39 percent jump in costs to the hospital.