Time utilization of a population of general surgeons in community practice

Edward F X Hughes*, Eugene M. Lewit, Frederick V. Lorenzo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A time-motion study was performed on a population of general surgeons in suburban community practice whose median weekly operative work load had been previously determined to be 3.1 hernia equivalents (HE). The mean observed 6 day working week of this population of general surgeons was found to be 34.5 hours, of which 28.7 hours were devoted to professional activities. In addition, each surgeon averaged 1.4 hours per night in professional activities for a total work week of 44.3 hours. Thirty-five percent of the mean observed working week was spent in office activities and 50 percent spent in hospital activities. During the mean observed week, 18.5 hours (54 percent) were devoted to patient care, of which 16.5 hours were judged to be devoted to surgical care. Surgeons with above-median operative work loads in the previous study devoted 67 percent more time to professional activities and twice as much time to surgical activities as surgeons with below-median work loads. The findings support the hypothesis that there appears to be an underutilization of costly and highly specialized medical skills in the particular community and suggest that the HE methodology is a valid measure not only of the operative work of surgeons in community practice but of total time devoted to surgical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-383
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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