Letters to the Editor
Dr. Zvara’s experience with surgeons is just like ours! Asking surgeons (and perhaps even anesthesiologists and nurses) how much longer the case will take is not of much value. It’s a sad statement that hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake in staffing for second shifts, and yet asking “How much longer you gonna be?” and then inflating the estimate has been the state-of-the-art approach. This is partly why we developed our statistical method to decrease anesthetist staffing costs.
The broader issue, however, was our frustration in seeing hospitals, some nearly bankrupt and with poor bond ratings, trying to “increase efficiency” by purchasing information systems products that cannot achieve the hospitals’ objectives. This is why we focused on identifying the financial value of perfect knowledge of case durations. I hope that, as we continue to improve on the scientific foundations of operating room management, surgical services managers will be able to base their decision making on sophisticated analysis instead of best guesses and experience.
Franklin Dexter MD, PhD