A time study of physicians' work in a German university eye hospital to estimate unit costs.
e0121910 - ?
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BACKGROUND: Technical efficiency of hospital services is debated since performance has been heterogeneous. Staff time represents the main resource in patient care and its inappropriate allocation has been identified as a key factor of inefficiency. The aim of this study was to analyse the utilisation of physicians' work time stratified by staff groups, tasks and places of work. A further aim was to use these data to estimate resource use per unit of output. METHODS: A self-reporting work-sampling study was carried during 14-days at a University Eye Hospital. Staff costs of physicians per unit of output were calculated at the wards, the operating rooms and the outpatient unit. RESULTS: Forty per cent of total work time was spent in contact with the patient. Thirty per cent was spent with documentation tasks. Time spent with documentation tasks declined monotonically with increasing seniority of staff. Unit costs were 56 € per patient day at the wards, 77 € and 20 € per intervention at the operating rooms for inpatients and outpatients, respectively, and 33 € per contact at the outpatient unit. Substantial differences in resources directly dedicated to the patient were found between these locations. CONCLUSION: The presented data provide unprecedented units costs in inpatient Ophthalmology. Future research should focus on analysing factors that influence differences in time allocation, such as types of patients, organisation of care processes and composition of staff.
AuthorsWolff, J; McCrone, P; Patel, A; Auber, G; Reinhard, T
- Applied Economics