Increased demand for screening colonoscopy necessitates improved efficiency in endoscopy units, especially more efficient use of existing resources.
Dr Linda Rabeneck and colleagues from Canada assessed the efficiency of the endoscopy unit of a large tertiary care teaching hospital.
The patients received inpatient and outpatient procedures in an endoscopy unit of a 650-bed acute care hospital.
|71% of the delays were because the physician was not available|
The researchers' main outcome measurements included time elapsed between endoscopic procedures, and the duration of the procedures.
The researchers also measured procedure delays of more than 15 minutes between procedures, and the reasons for them.
The research assistant observed 675 endoscopic procedures done for 625 patients.
The team found that the most common procedure was colonoscopy in 42%.
Overall, procedures for 31% of patients were delayed.
The team noted that of 193 patients with delayed procedures, 71% of the delays were because the physician was not available to start the procedure.
The time elapsed between procedures was longer than 30 minutes for 24% of the delayed procedures.
The researchers observed that the duration of procedures was prolonged for about 22% of procedures.
Dr Rabeneck's team concludes , “Physician unavailability contributed to considerable delays in endoscopic procedures.”
“Strategies to reduce procedure delays could have a favorable impact on the volume of procedures performed in the unit, thereby improving the use of existing resources.”
“We encourage other groups to assess the efficiency of their hospital-based endoscopy units.”