We performed a narrative review to explore the economics of daily operating room management decisions for ambulatory surgery centers following resolution of the acute phase of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is anticipated that there will be a substantive fraction of patients who will be contagious, but asymptomatic at the time of surgery. Use multimodal perioperative infection control practices (e.g., including patient decontamination) and monitor performance (e.g., S. aureus transmission from patient to the environment). The consequence of COVID-19 is that such processes are more important than ever to follow because infection affects not only patients but the surgery center staff and surgeons. Dedicate most operating rooms to procedures that are not airway aerosol producing and can be performed without general anesthesia. Increase throughput by performing nerve blocks before patients enter the operating rooms. Bypass the phase I post-anesthesia care unit whenever possible by appropriate choices of anesthetic approach and drugs. Plan long-duration workdays (e.g., 12-h). For cases where the surgical procedure does not cause aerosol production, but general anesthesia will be used, have initial (phase I) post-anesthesia recovery in the operating room where the surgery was done. Use anesthetic practices that achieve fast initial recovery of the brief ambulatory cases. When the surgical procedure causes aerosol production (e.g., bronchoscopy), conduct phase I recovery in the operating room and use multimodal environmental decontamination after each case. Use statistical methods to plan for the resulting long turnover times. Whenever possible, have the anesthesia and nursing teams stagger cases in more than one room so that they are doing one surgical case while the other room is being cleaned. In conclusion, this review shows that while COVID-19 is prevalent, it will markedly affect daily ambulatory workflow for patients undergoing general anesthesia, with potentially substantial economic impact for some surgical specialties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine