Prospective analysis of operating room and discharge delays in a burn center

Tarik D. Madni, Paul A. Nakonezny, Jonathan B. Imran, Evan Barrios, Paul Rizk, Audra T. Clark, Holly B. Cunningham, Luis Taveras, Brett D. Arnoldo, Michael W. Cripps, Herb A. Phelan, Steven E. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Delays to the operating room (OR) or discharge (DC) lead to longer lengths of stay and increased costs. Surprisingly, little work has been done to quantify the number and cost of delays for inpatients to the OR, and to DC to outpatient status. They reviewed their burn admissions to determine how often a patient experiences delays in healthcare delivery. Data for all burn admissions were prospectively collected from 2014 to 2016. A quality improvement filter was created to define acceptable parameters for patient throughput. Every hospital day was labeled as 1) No delay, 2) Operation, 3) Delay to the OR, or 4) Delay to DC. They had 1633 admissions: 432 ICU admissions (26%) and 1201 floor admissions (74%). Six hundred fifteen patients (37.7%) received an operation. Patients with delays included 331 with OR delays (20.3%) and 503 with DC delays (30.8%). Average delay days included (Mean ± SD): OR delay days = 4.7 ± 6.2 and DC delay days = 4.1 ± 4.4. Total number of hospital days was 13,009, divided into 1616 OR delay days (12%) and 2096 DC delay days (16%). Significant OR delays were due to patient unstable for OR (n = 387 [24%]), OR space availability (n = 662 [41%]), indeterminate wound depth (n = 437 [27%]), and donor site availability (n = 83 [5%]). Significant DC delays were due to medical goals not reached (n = 388 [19%]), pain control and wound care (n = 694 [33%]), PT/OT clearance (n = 168 [8.0%]), and DC placement delays (n = 754 [36%]). Costs for OR and DC delays ranged between US$1,000,000 and US$5,000,000. Costs of increasing OR capacity and/ or additional social work ancillary staff can be justified through millions of dollars of savings annually.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 26 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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