Alex Macario MD MBA

Publication Details

  • What can the postanesthesia care unit manager do to decrease costs in the postanesthesia care unit? Journal of perianesthesia nursing Macario, A., Glenn, D., Dexter, F. 1999; 14 (5): 284-293


    The economic structure of the PACU dictates whether a cost-reducing intervention (e.g., reducing the length of time patients stay in the PACU) is likely to decrease hospital costs. Cost-reducing interventions, such as changes in medical practice patterns (e.g., to reduce PACU length of stay), only impact variable costs. How PACU nurses are paid (e.g., salaried v hourly) affects which strategies to decrease PACU staffing costs will actually save money. For example, decreases in PACU labor costs resulting from increases in the number of patients that bypass the PACU vary depending on how the staff is compensated. The choice of anesthetic drugs and the elimination of low morbidity side effects of anesthesia, such as postoperative nausea, are likely to have little effect on the peak numbers of patients in a PACU and PACU staffing costs. Because the major determinant of labor productivity in the PACU is hour-to-hour and day-to-day variability in the timing of admissions from the operating room, a more even inflow of patients into the PACU could be attained by appropriate sequencing of cases in the operating room suite (e.g., have long cases scheduled at the beginning of the day). However, this mathematically proven solution may not be desirable. Surgeons, for example, may not want to lose control over the order of their cases. Guidelines for analysis of past daily peak numbers of patients are provided that will provide data to predict the minimum adequate number of nurses needed. Though many managers already do this manually on an ad hoc basis statistical methods summarized in this article may increase the accuracy.

    View details for PubMedID 10827638

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