The effects of surgical case duration and type of surgery on hourly clinical productivity of anesthesiologists

Amr E. Abouleish, Donald S. Prough, Charles W. Whitten, Mark H. Zornow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Surgical duration (hours per case; h/case) and type of surgery (ASA base units per case; base/case) determine the hourly clinical productivity (total ASA units per hour of anesthesia care; tASA/h) for anesthesiology groups. In previous studies, h/case negatively influenced tASA/h, but base/case did not differ significantly. However, when cases are grouped by surgical service, the mean base/case varies. In this study we evaluated the effect of h/case and base/case on tASA/h when these are grouped by surgical services. Data from one calendar year were collected from an academic anesthesiology department's billing database. All surgical cases for which the anesthesiology department provided care were included. Cases performed outside the main operating room, e.g., remote sites or obstetrics, were excluded. Any care not billed with ASA units was also excluded. Mean base/case and h/case were determined. For each service, tASA/h was calculated by dividing the sum of base/case and (4 × h/case) by h/case. A total of 12,769 cases were performed by 19 different surgical services. Mean base/case was 6.1 U, with a range of 4.0 U (orthopedics) to 16.0 U (cardiothoracic). Mean h/case was 2.9 h, with a range of 0.9 h (otolaryngology pediatric) to 5.4 h (orthopedic spine). Mean tASA/h was 6.35 U/h, with a range of 5.01 U/h (plastic surgery) to 9.71 U/h (otolaryngology pediatric). The services with high base/case did not necessarily have high tASA/h because of the longer h/case. The services with the shortest h/case had the highest tASA/h. The accurate prediction of both clinical and billing productivity requires inclusion of both base/case and surgical duration data. Anesthesiology groups should consider surgical duration when making strategic decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-838
Number of pages6
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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