Industry-wide survey of academic anesthesiology departments provides up-to-date benchmarking data on surgical anesthesia productivity

Amr E. Abouleish, Mark E. Hudson, Ronald S. Levy, Charles W. Whitten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Benchmarking group surgical anesthesia productivity continues to be an important but challenging goal for anesthesiology groups. Benchmarking is important because it provides objective data to evaluate staffing needs and costs, identify potential operating room management decisions that could reduce costs or improve efficiency, and support ongoing negotiations and discussions with health system leadership. Unfortunately, good and meaningful benchmarking data are not readily available. Therefore, a survey of academic anesthesiology departments was done to provide current benchmarking data. METHODS: A survey of members of the Society of Academic Associations of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (SAAAPM) was performed. The survey collected data by facility and included type of facility, number and type of staff and anesthetizing sites each weekday, and the billed American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) units and number of cases over 12 months. The facility types included academic medical center (AMC), community hospital (Community), children's hospital (Children), and ambulatory surgical center (ASC). All anesthesia care billed using ASA units were included, except for obstetric anesthesia. Any care not billed or billed using relative value units (RVUs) were excluded. Percentage of nonoperating room anesthetizing sites, staffing ratio, and surgical anesthesia productivity measurements "per case" and "per site" were calculated. RESULTS: Of the 135 society members, 63 submitted complete surveys for 140 facilities (69 AMC, 26 Community, 7 Children, and 38 ASC). In the survey, overall median productivity for AMC and Children was similar (12,592 and 12,364 total ASA units per anesthetizing site), while the ASC had the lowest median overall productivity (8911 total ASA units per anesthetizing site). By size of facility, in the survey, the smaller facilities (<10 sites, ASC or non-ASC) had lower median overall productivity as compared to larger facilities. For AMC and Children, >20% of anesthetizing sites were nonoperating room anesthetizing sites. Anesthesiology residents worked primarily in AMC and Children. In ASC and Community, residents worked only in 18% and 35% of facilities, respectively. More than half the AMCs reported at least 1 break certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA) each day. CONCLUSIONS: To make data-driven decisions on clinical productivity, anesthesiology leaders need to be able to make meaningful comparisons at the facility level. For a group that provides care in multiple facilities, one can make internal comparisons among facilities and follow measurements over time. It is valuable for leaders to also be compare their facilities with industry-wide measurements, in other words, benchmark their facilities. These results provide benchmarking data for academic anesthesiology departments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-892
Number of pages8
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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