“Flip’n Surgeons” –Calculating the Utilization Rate of Surgeons Who Flip Operating Rooms
By Joe Laden, Vice President Client Management
Surgeons who “flip” ORs have two simultaneous operating rooms allocated to them and, therefore, have two anesthesiologists or two anesthesia care teams in these ORs. For a very busy surgeon, this is usually good for the surgeon, hospital, and the anesthesiology group. However, some surgeons would like to operate in two ORs but do not have the surgical volume to justify this.
How can the anesthesia group quantify this to decide with the hospital which surgeons deserve to have two operating rooms on certain days? This analysis is accomplished by examining the historical anesthesia billing data of these surgeons.
First, the anesthesia group needs to produce a report listing for each surgeon and each day the number of hours of anesthesia billed by operating room during the prime weekday hours. For most hospitals, prime hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. An example follows:
As you can see from the chart above, on most days, this surgeon worked in two operating rooms and anesthesia billed the listed number of hours of anesthesia. To calculate the utilization rate, divide the total number of anesthesia hours billed each day by 16 prime hours. (Anesthesia hours outside the time period 7: 00-3:00 are not considered.) In order to justify two operating rooms, the surgeon’s utilization rate should be at least as high as the overall utilization rate of all the facility’s operating rooms covered by the anesthesia group. In the example, we see that the utilization rate for days where the surgeon used two ORs is 68.5%. If the overall operating room utilization rate of this facility is 65%, then it would be economically feasible for the anesthesia group to staff two ORs for this surgeon because this surgeon’s utilization is greater than 65%.
There are potential advantages for the anesthesia group to staff two operating rooms for certain surgeons if their utilization is sufficient. First, providing flip rooms will help keep the surgeon at the facility. A high-volume surgeon is usually very profitable for the hospital and providing two ORs, and two sets of nursing teams are economically feasible for the hospital. Additionally, if the surgeon has enough work to justify two ORs, the use of two ORs will cause the day’s cases to end earlier than if the surgeon did all cases in one OR. This is a satisfier for all parties involved.
This report can also identify for you, surgeons who do not have sufficient utilization to justify the use of two operating rooms and two teams of anesthesia care providers.
Joe Laden is the Vice President of Client Management, AdvantEdge Healthcare Solutions, and a nationally recognized anesthesia expert and speaker, working with anesthesia practices across the country to improve their billing and coding operations.
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