Given the fact that operating rooms everywhere are coming under severe pressure due to the influx of extra patients, it has become more important than ever that ORs are set up for maximum efficiency. Not all ORs are set up this way, however, and it’s easy to make an error in the setup that later gets recognized by the OR staff and requires remedial action.
With that in mind, here are three common setup errors made when getting an OR ready for service.
Room size and layout
It’s critical to have adequate room in the OR for all personnel to be able to move about relatively freely, as opposed to having a cramped space where assistants are obliged to remain in place to avoid collisions. Surgeons also need room to move about in some cases, and when it’s necessary, there should be space available to accommodate this movement. Any operating room that lacks adequate space will be difficult for personnel to perform their tasks, and it will be uncomfortable for the whole staff as well.
Sometimes the layout of the OR is also not optimal for the kinds of procedures that routinely get performed there. In most cases, the operating table should be placed in the center of the room, with overhead lighting directly focused on the table, but adjustable to accommodate the surgeon’s needs. Anesthesia equipment should be placed at the head of the table, while a power source is situated at the foot of the table. Also, at the foot of the table, there should be tubing for suction when needed.
Lack of back table efficiency
Many ORs have no standardization about the way back tables are set up and equipped with instruments. Most devices on the table are not clearly visible, and that results in a delay when trying to find the right tool. The DinamicOR Back Table Solution overcomes this problem because it makes 92 percent of all instruments clearly visible and quickly retrievable. It allows for standardization and repeatability because it comes with a Workflow App that can be programmed to show a standard Back Table setup, as well as a step-by-step process for all operations. This can be used to achieve OR uniformity, and it can also be used to train and onboard new personnel.
Another of the most common setup mistakes in the OR is with overhead lighting. If overhead lighting is positioned advantageously, it can preclude the need for physicians to use accessory lighting worn on the head. The main light in the operating room should generally be positioned just over the physician’s left shoulder, and the secondary light should be positioned on the surgeon’s right-hand shoulder. Whichever setup works to prevent the surgeon’s operating hand from interfering with the light source is the best one to adopt. Overhead lighting should be made fully adjustable to accommodate the preferences of the specific surgeon conducting the operation.
Paying attention to and correcting these three things will go a long way toward maximizing patient outcomes while minimizing mistakes.