Dedicated operating room for emergency surgery generates more utilization, less overtime, and less cancellations

Elizabeth van Veen-Berkx, Sylvia G Elkhuizen, Bart Kuijper, Geert Kazemier, Dutch Operating Room Benchmarking Collaborative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Two approaches prevail for reserving operating room (OR) capacity for emergency surgery: (1) dedicated emergency ORs and (2) evenly allocating capacity to all elective ORs, thereby creating a virtual emergency team. Previous studies contradict which approach leads to the best performance in OR utilization.

METHODS: Quasi-experimental controlled time-series design with empirical data from 3 university medical centers. Four different time periods were compared with analysis of variance with contrasts.

RESULTS: Performance was measured based on 467,522 surgical cases. After closing the dedicated emergency OR, utilization slightly increased; overtime also increased. This was in contrast to earlier simulated results. The 2 control centers, maintaining a dedicated emergency OR, showed a higher increase in utilization and a decrease in overtime, along with a smaller ratio of case cancellations because of emergency surgery.

CONCLUSION: This study shows that in daily practice a dedicated emergency OR is the preferred approach in performance terms regarding utilization, overtime, and case cancellations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-8
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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