Contribution margin per hour of operating room to reallocate unutilized operating room time: a cost-effectiveness analysis
Andrea Saporito, Davide La Regina, Andreas Perren, Luca Gabutti, Luciano Anselmi, Stefano Cafarotti, Francesco Mongelli
Background and objectives
Contribution margin per hour (CMH) has been proposed in healthcare systems to increase the profitability of operating suites. The aim of our study is to propose a simple and reproducible model to calculate CMH and to increase cost-effectiveness.
For the ten most commonly performed surgical procedures at our Institution, we prospectively collected their diagnosis-related group (DRG) reimbursement, variable costs and mean procedural time. We quantified the portion of total staffed operating room time to be reallocated with a minimal risk of overrun. Moreover, we calculated the total CMH with a random reallocation on a first come-first served basis. Finally, prioritizing procedures with higher CMH, we ran a simulation by calculating the total CMH.
Over a two-months period, we identified 14.5 hours of unutilized operating room to reallocate. In the case of a random “first come–first serve” basis, the total earnings were 87,117 United States dollars (USD). Conversely, with a reallocation which prioritized procedures with a high CMH, it was possible to earn 140,444 USD (p < 0.001).
Surgical activity may be one of the most profitable activities for hospitals, but a cost-effective management requires a comprehension of its cost profile. Reallocation of unused operating room time according to CMH may represent a simple, reproducible and reliable tool for elective cases on a waiting list. In our experience, it helped improving the operating suite cost-effectiveness.
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