Background: Surgery is a core activity in hospitals. Operating rooms have some of the most important and vital functions in medical centers. The operating rooms and their staff are a valuable infrastructure resource and their availability and preparedness affect human life and quality of care.
Objectives: To prepare operational suggestions for improving operating room utilization by mapping current working processes in the operating rooms of a large private medical center.
Methods: Data on 23,585 surgeries performed at our medical center between August 2016 and March 2017 were analyzed by various parameters including utilization, capacity, working hours, and surgery delays.
Results: Average operating room utilization was 79%, while 21% was considered lost operating room time. The two major factors that influenced the lost operating room time were the time intervals between planned usage blocks and the partial utilization of operating room time. We calculated that each percent of utilized operating room time translates into 440 surgeries annually, resulting in a potential annual increase in income.
Conclusions: Increasing operating room utilization would result in an improvement of operating room availability and an increased number of procedures. Our analysis shows that operating room utilization in the private healthcare system is efficient compared to the public healthcare system in Israel. Therefore the private healthcare system should be treated as a contributing factor to help lower surgery waiting times and release bottlenecks, rather than being perceived as contributing to inequality.