BACKGROUND: First-case tardiness is still a common source of frustration. In this study, a nationwide operating room (OR) Benchmark database was used to assess the effectiveness of interventions implemented to reduce tardiness and calculate its economic impact. METHODS: Data from 8 University Medical Centers over 7 years were included: 190,295 elective inpatient first cases. Data were analyzed with SPSS statistics and multidisciplinary focus-group study meetings. Analysis of variance with contrast analysis measured the influence of interventions. RESULTS: Seven thousand ninety-four hours were lost annually to first-case tardiness, which has a considerable economic impact. Four University Medical Centers implemented interventions and effectuated a significant reduction in tardiness, eg providing feedbacks directly when ORs started too late, new agreements between OR and intensive care unit departments concerning "intensive care unit bed release" policy, and a shift in responsibilities regarding transport of patients to the OR. CONCLUSIONS: Nationwide benchmarking can be applied to identify and measure the effectiveness of interventions to reduce first-case tardiness in a university hospital OR environment. The implemented interventions in 4 centers were successful in significantly reducing first-case tardiness.

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The American Journal of Surgery
Department of Surgery

van Veen-Berkx, E., Elkhuizen, S., Kalkman, C., Buhre, P., & Kazemier, G. (2014). Successful interventions to reduce first-case tardiness in Dutch university medical centers: Results of a nationwide operating room benchmark study. The American Journal of Surgery, 207(6), 949–959. doi:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2013.09.025