Background: Dedicated orthopaedic trauma operating rooms have improved operating room efficiency, physician schedules, and patient outcomes in adult populations. The purpose of this study was to determine if a dedicated orthopaedic trauma operating room was associated with improved patient flow and cost savings at a level-I pediatric trauma center.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed for two 3-year intervals before and after implementation of a weekday, unbooked operating room reserved for orthopaedic trauma cases. Index procedures for 5 common fractures were investigated, including supracondylar humeral fractures, both bone forearm fractures, lateral condylar fractures, tibial fractures, and femoral fractures. To provide a control group to account for potential extrinsic changes in hospital efficiency, laparoscopic appendectomies were also analyzed. For each procedure, efficiency parameters and surgical complications, defined as unplanned reoperations, were compared between time periods. The mean cost reduction per patient was calculated on the basis of the mean daily cost of an inpatient hospital bed.
Results: Of 1,469 orthopaedic procedures analyzed, 719 cases occurred before the implementation of the dedicated orthopaedic trauma operating room, and 750 cases were performed after the implementation. The frequency of after-hours procedures (5 P.M. to 7 A.M.) was reduced by 48% (p < 0.001). The mean wait time for the operating room decreased among supracondylar humeral fractures, lateral condylar fractures, and tibial fractures, whereas no significant decrease (p = 0.302) occurred among 2,076 laparoscopic appendectomy cases. The mean duration of the surgical procedure and the mean time in the operating room were not significantly affected. Across all orthopaedic procedures, the mean duration of inpatient hospitalization decreased by 5.6 hours (p < 0.001), but no significant difference occurred among appendectomies. Decreased length of stay resulted in a mean cost reduction of $1,251 per patient. Supracondylar humeral fracture cases performed after implementation of the dedicated orthopaedic trauma operating room had fewer surgical complications (p = 0.018). No difference in complication rate was detected among the other orthopaedic procedures.
Conclusions: A dedicated orthopaedic trauma operating room in a pediatric trauma center was associated with fewer after-hours procedures, decreased wait time to the surgical procedure, reduced length of hospitalization, and decreased cost.
1Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (C.M.B., A.S.S., and W.N.S.), Office of Clinical Quality Improvement (X.L.), and Division of Corporate Finance (M.K.L.), The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
E-mail address for W.N. Sankar: firstname.lastname@example.org