Features  |   May 2015
O.R. Efficiency and Patient Safety: Are They Inversely Related?
Author Affiliations
  • Shamantha Reddy, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
  • Brian J. Cammarata, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
Article Information
Patient Safety / Features
Features   |   May 2015
O.R. Efficiency and Patient Safety: Are They Inversely Related?
ASA Monitor 05 2015, Vol.79, 14-17.
ASA Monitor 05 2015, Vol.79, 14-17.
O.R. efficiency is a growing field challenging the traditional philosophical separation between medicine and business. Process improvement strategies, such as Six Sigma and Toyota’s Lean Production System,1  are widely promoted for efficiency and cost savings. When efficiency and quality become unbalanced, however, patient safety implications can ensue.
Improving O.R. efficiency is an attempt to provide quality health care in a cost-conscious manner. O.R. efficiency can be measured in various ways: turnover time, case cancellation rates, start time tardiness, contribution margin, prediction bias of case duration, PACU admission delays and staffing costs. Health care costs have skyrocketed throughout the years with $2.9 trillion being spent and consuming 17.2 percent of the gross domestic product in 2013.2  Nationally, there has been a big push to control perioperative expenses without compromising patient safety.
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