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Correspondence and Brief Communications |

Patient Waiting Time Matters When Filling a Pod of Operating Rooms

Franklin Dexter, MD, PhD; Ruth E. Wachtel, PhD, MBA
Arch Surg. 2007;142(11):1114. doi:10.1001/archsurg.142.11.1114-a.
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Previously, Sokal and colleagues1 considered a configuration of 4 operating rooms (ORs), called a pod, with 3 rooms functioning as ORs and 1 serving as a dedicated recovery room. Conversion of an existing OR into a recovery room is cost-neutral only for those cases for which enough time can be saved that the resulting increase in volume offsets the loss of an OR. They refer to such cases as “good.”

In an update, Sokal and colleagues2 consider the selection of surgeons who can use block time in the high-efficiency pod: “[P]arallel processing will likely work best for repetitive cases of short duration (ie, 30 minutes to 2 hours). . . . [T]he best groups are your consistent surgeons, . . . the person who does it the same way every time.” Only 30 of 352 surgeons had sufficient numbers of “good” cases to fill a 9-hour block at least twice a month. For a single type of procedure, the proportion of “good” cases for a given surgeon-case combination was sometimes as low as 5%.

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