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OR costs: $15-$20 (or much more) per minute?


The tricky part in looking at the question of how much OR costs on a per-minute basis is that you want to make sure you can tell whether the figure quoted is the COST that the hospital incurs or whether it is the CHARGE that the hospital posts to the patient or insurer.

Surgical Directions [a consulting firm]

Here is some more recent information on this topic:

  • “…OR time costs between $20 and $65 per minute…”

Source: Firm policies and the right procedures tip the cost-benefit balance toward flip rooms.  OR Manager;30(4):19-21, Apr. 2014.  Click here to access the publisher’s website:  http://www.ormanager.com/2014/03/13/firm-policies-and-the-right-procedures-tip-the-cost-benefit-balance-toward-flip-rooms/  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

  • “OR time has been valued at up to $60 per minute.”

Source: Bosco, J., Peters, J.A., and Torrance, A. (2016, May-June). The elephant in the OR: Improving performance for long surgical cases. Physician Leadership Journal, 3(3), 8-12.  Click here to access the publisher’s website: http://www.physicianleaders.org/news/journals/plj

The Becker’s item (2013): COSTS

I saw this intriguing factoid in a recent brief article and got interested in tracking it back to the source:

  • “…there is little published, formal data on true OR costs…As a result, hospital administrators often deploy a ballpark to answer that question, ranging from $15 to $20 per minute for a basic surgical procedure, according to research from Stanford University School of Medicine.”

Source: Gamble, M.  6 cornerstones of operating room efficiency: best practices for each.  Becker’s Hospital Review;2013(2):42, 44, Feb. 2013.  Click here for full text: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/or-efficiencies/6-cornerstones-of-operating-room-efficiency-best-practices-for-each.html

The Stanford Article (2010)

The next step in the trail is this article that does come from a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine:

  • “There are no published formal data on true OR costs.  Excluding physician costs, OR administrators may use a ballpark number such as $15 or $20 per OR minute for a basic surgical procedure, with at least half of that figure being fixed overhead costs.”
  • But this quote is really based on an older article (see the Park & Dickerson article below)

Source: Macario, A.  What does one minute of operating room time cost?  Journal of Clinical Anesthesia;22:233-236, 2010.  Click here for full text: http://ether.stanford.edu/asc/documents/management2.pdf

The Park & Dickerson Article (2009) — affiliated with Ohio State

  • This is the end of the trail for me — could not find a free full text copy of this article.  I’d be curious if you have access to it!

Source: Park, K.W., and Dickerson, C.  Can efficient supply management in the operating room save millions?  Curr Opin Anaesthesiol;22:242-248, 2009.  Can purchased full text copy here: http://journals.lww.com/co-anesthesiology/Abstract/2009/04000/Can_efficient_supply_management_in_the_operating.17.aspx  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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