January 31, 2023

Incorrect anesthesia start times results in significant revenue loss

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Inaccurately recording anesthesia start times is common and results in significant lost billing time for anesthesia practices and medical centers, finds a study presented January 26 at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ ADVANCE 2023, in Orlando, Florida.

The researchers, from Northwestern University McGaw Medical Center in Chicago, analyzed 40,312 procedures involving anesthesia.

In 27,771 (68.74%) cases, anesthesia start time was recorded as starting once the patient was in the OR. This time did not factor in the anesthesiologist’s preoperative preparation time, including talking with the patient, administering premedications, and attaching monitors, before the patient’s arrival in the OR.

Using the national average charge for anesthesia time, the time not recorded translated to $638,671.57 in lost revenue for the year.

The researchers recommended several approaches to help address inaccurate anesthesia start time documentation, including educating anesthesiologists on improving their recording practices and providing visual reminders such as signs in the OR. In addition, they say, an anesthesia start time capture function could be built into the EHR mobile app so that the anesthesiologist could record the start time on the way to the OR, or the EHR could automatically add 2 minutes to the log time.


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