August 1, 2022

Weekend elective surgery program reduces COVID-19 backlog

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This Canadian study finds that hospitals impacted by COVID-19 can reduce their surgical backlogs by scheduling elective surgeries on the weekends.

Using machine learning algorithms, the researchers demonstrated that even after resuming their usual level of surgical cases, the wait list would not decrease without a substantial increase in resources.

The weekend surgery program led to a 5% decrease in the number of patients on the wait list during the study period. Most of the process and outcome measures were met or exceeded, and more than 98% of planned cases were completed. Overall, there was a high level of satisfaction among family members (95.8%) and staff working weekends (79%).

The results show that it is possible to establish a highly efficient weekend surgical model in a pediatric hospital that can run alongside a regular weekend emergency service without interruption, the researchers say.

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