Organizational factors affect comparisons of the clinical productivity of academic anesthesiology departments

Amr E. Abouleish, Donald S. Prough, Steven J. Barker, Charles W. Whitten, Tatsuo Uchida, Jeffrey L. Apfelbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Productivity measurements based on "per operating room (OR) site" and "per case" are not influenced by staffing ratios and have permitted meaningful comparisons among small samples of both academic and private-practice anesthesiology groups. These comparisons have suggested that a larger sample would allow for clinical groups to be compared using a number of different variables (including type of hospital, number of OR sites, type of surgical staff, or other organizational characteristics), which may permit more focused benchmarking. In this study, we used such grouping variables to compare clinical productivity in a broad survey of academic anesthesiology programs. Descriptive, billing, and staffing data were collected for 1 fiscal or calendar year from 37 academic anesthesiology departments representing 58 hospitals. Descriptive data included types of surgical staff (e.g., academic versus private practice) and hospital centers (e.g., academic medical centers and ambulatory surgical centers [ASCs]). Billing and staffing data included total number of cases performed, total American Society of Anesthesiologists units (tASA) billed, total time units billed (15-min units), and daily number of anesthetizing sites staffed (OR sites). Measurements of total productivity (tASA/OR site), billed hours per OR site per day (h/ OR/d), surgical duration (h/case), hourly billing productivity (tASA/h), and base units/case were compared. These comparisons were made according to type of hospital, number of OR sites, and type of surgical staff. The ASCs had significantly less tASA/OR site, fewer h/OR/d, and less h/case than non-ASC hospitals. Community hospitals had significantly less h/OR/d and h/case than academic medical centers and indigent hospitals and a larger percentage of private-practice or mixed surgical staff. Academic staffs had significantly less tASA/h and significantly more h/case. tASA/h correlated highly with h/case (r = -0.68). This study showed that the hospitals at which academic anesthesiology groups provide care are not all the same from a clinical productivity perspective. By grouping based on type of hospital, number of OR sites, and type of surgical staff, academic anesthesiology departments (and hospitals) can be better compared by using clinical productivity measurements based on "per OR site" and "per case" measurements (tASA/ OR, billed h/OR/d, h/case, tASA/h, and base/case).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)802-812
Number of pages11
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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