BJS Open. 2023 Nov 1;7(6):zrad113. doi: 10.1093/bjsopen/zrad113.
BACKGROUND: Surgical waiting lists have risen dramatically across the UK as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The effective use of operating theatres by optimal scheduling could help mitigate this, but this requires accurate case duration predictions. Current standards for predicting the duration of surgery are inaccurate. Artificial intelligence (AI) offers the potential for greater accuracy in predicting surgical case duration. This study aimed to investigate whether there is evidence to support that AI is more accurate than current industry standards at predicting surgical case duration, with a secondary aim of analysing whether the implementation of the models used produced efficiency savings.
METHOD: PubMed, Embase, and MEDLINE libraries were searched through to July 2023 to identify appropriate articles. PRISMA extension for scoping reviews and the Arksey and O’Malley framework were followed. Study quality was assessed using a modified version of the reporting guidelines for surgical AI papers by Farrow et al. Algorithm performance was reported using evaluation metrics.
RESULTS: The search identified 2593 articles: 14 were suitable for inclusion and 13 reported on the accuracy of AI algorithms against industry standards, with seven demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in prediction accuracy (P < 0.05). The larger studies demonstrated the superiority of neural networks over other machine learning techniques. Efficiency savings were identified in a RCT. Significant methodological limitations were identified across most studies.
CONCLUSION: The studies suggest that machine learning and deep learning models are more accurate at predicting the duration of surgery; however, further research is required to determine the best way to implement this technology.