Operating room start times and turnover times in a university hospital

J Clin Anesth. 1994 Sep-Oct;6(5):405-8. doi: 10.1016/s0952-8180(05)80011-x.


Study objective: To measure the start time for the first case of the day and the turnover times for subsequent cases in the operating rooms (ORs) at an academic hospital.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: ORs at a university medical center.

Patients: All patients undergoing an operative procedure that started between 7 A.M. and 5 P.M. weekdays for the period January 1, 1989, through June 30, 1989.

Interventions: For each patient, the following times were recorded: OR ready, patient enters OR, anesthesia induction complete, surgery start, surgery end, patient leaves OR.

Measurements and main results: Patients were brought into the OR just before the scheduled start time. Surgical incision was made 21 to 49 minutes after the patient was brought into the OR. Room turnover time (time from patient in to patient out) was almost uniformly 36 minutes. Patient turnover time (time from end of surgery in one patient to end of induction of next patient) was generally 1 hour. Turnover times were shorter for those ORs in which primarily monitored anesthesia care was provided and longer in ORs in which patients routinely required invasive monitoring.

Conclusions: The scheduled start time for the first case of the day was generally the time the patient was brought into the OR. Because of the variable amount of time required for anesthesia induction and surgical preparation and draping, incision occurred 21 to 49 minutes later. The time between cases when no surgery was occurring was significantly longer than room turnover time because of the need to wake up one patient and induce the following patient. Because of a lack of standardized definitions, there is probably a strong perceptual difference among anesthesiologists, OR nurses, and surgeons when viewing start and turnover times. At our own teaching institution, shortening turnover times would increase the amount of elective OR time available, but the impact would not be significant because the number of procedures done per OR each day is low.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Hospitals, University / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Neurosurgery
  • Operating Room Nursing / organization & administration
  • Operating Rooms / organization & administration*
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery Room / organization & administration
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative
  • Time Factors