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Private theatre utilisation in South Africa: A case study

Dieter Hartmann, Bernadette Sunjka

Abstract


Introduction. A large private operating theatre complex was investigated to address the lack of published South African benchmarks for utilisation. All major theatres were staffed during normal working hours (07h00 - 19h00), emergency cases being provided for on an ad hoc basis through spare capacity.

Methods. An extensive billing database, amounting to 28 991 records of procedures performed during normal working hours and spanning the period October 2007 - February 2010, was data-mined using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) scripts. Theatre utilisation was analysed per day, per theatre.

Results. The results showed an average utilisation of 43% with significant variation in day-to-day operations. If the very underutilised minor theatre was excluded from the analysis, overall utilisation rose to 48%. Individual theatre utilisation ranged from 14% to 61%. An analysis of change in utilisation with time during a day showed that peak utilisation of 71% was achieved at 09h30 (90 minutes after lists start). Utilisation dropped to 25% at the end of the working day and was sustained for some time after hours.

Conclusion. The 48% utilisation observed was significantly lower than the global benchmark of between 70% and 80%.

Authors' affiliations

Dieter Hartmann, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Bernadette Sunjka, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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Keywords

Private Hospital; Operating Theatre Utilisation

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2013;103(5):285-287. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.6460

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-10-31
Date published: 2013-03-13

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