Audit of the utilization of time in an orthopaedic trauma theatre

ANZ J Surg. 2010 Apr;80(4):217-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2009.05043.x.


Background: The efficient use of operating theatres is important to ensure optimum cost-benefit for the hospital and to clear waiting lists. This audit uses the orthopaedic trauma theatre as a model to assess the theatre efficiency at our institution.

Methods: We performed a retrospective audit using data gathered from the operating theatre database at our institution. We considered each component of the operating theatre process and integrated them to give a combined value for surgical and anaesthetic time (end utilization) and total theatre efficiency (operating theatre utilization).

Results: Results showed that relative to the standards set, changeover time and start times were sub-standard, with consistently prolonged changeovers and late starts. End utilization and operating theatre utilization were 78.8 and 81%, against a standard of 77 and 85-90%, respectively. However, these figures may be misleading due to sub-standard performance in changeover time and other variables.

Conclusions: We have highlighted inefficiency in the orthopaedic trauma theatre at our institution and suggest various strategies to improve this that may be applied universally.

MeSH terms

  • Efficiency*
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Operating Rooms / organization & administration*
  • Operating Rooms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Orthopedic Procedures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • South Australia
  • Time and Motion Studies
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*