Background Two approaches prevail for reserving operating room (OR) capacity for emergency surgery: (1) dedicated emergency ORs and (2) evenly allocating capacity to all elective ORs, thereby creating a virtual emergency team. Previous studies contradict which approach leads to the best performance in OR utilization.
Methods Quasi-experimental controlled time-series design with empirical data from 3 university medical centers. Four different time periods were compared with analysis of variance with contrasts.
Results Performance was measured based on 467,522 surgical cases. After closing the dedicated emergency OR, utilization slightly increased; overtime also increased. This was in contrast to earlier simulated results. The 2 control centers, maintaining a dedicated emergency OR, showed a higher increase in utilization and a decrease in overtime, along with a smaller ratio of case cancellations because of emergency surgery.
Conclusion This study shows that in daily practice a dedicated emergency OR is the preferred approach in performance terms regarding utilization, overtime, and case cancellations.

, ,,
The American Journal of Surgery
Erasmus School of Economics

van Veen-Berkx, E, Elkhuizen, S.G, Kuijper, B, & Kazemier, G. (2015). Dedicated operating room for emergency surgery generates more utilization, less overtime, and less cancellations. The American Journal of Surgery, 211(1), 122–128. doi:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2015.06.021