Operating Room Safety Issues
Clutter/Lack of Space is a key challenge to operating room safety. The modern OR is quite small (typically 300 to 550 square feet), and was not designed for the proliferation of high-tech equipment that is used today.
Operating Table: The table is not multifunctional. The operating table is not fixed in place, and can become unstable or move accidentally during surgery; a manually tilting or rotating table can be confusing for staff, and there have been cases where patients have died from sliding off an improperly positioned table.
Operating Room Efficiency Needs
Inefficient Re-stocking: Operating room cabinets are small, with limited capacity for stocking supplies. Current practice for re-stocking during surgery relies on availability of a circulating nurse who must leave the room to obtain required supplies. The process is both inefficient and dangerous, as the surgeon may have to wait for critical items.
Operating Room Cleaning and Sterility Problems
Walls: Most operating room walls are painted plasterboard, which compromises sterility. The wall material is porous, with a high dielectric constant; it gathers and holds dust and infectious organisms. Paint cannot withstand repeated high friction scrubbing so operating room walls are rarely scrubbed, and therefore even when the hospital reaches its highest level of cleanliness bacteria still reside on walls.
Floors: Floors are typically washed down between cases with a bucket and mops or with disposable swipes. Consequently, operating room floors are not sterile; infection is transmitted from room to room. Until now, no reliable and simplified mechanism for sterilizing an operating room floor has been available.
Superbugs in the operating room
Scope of the Problem: More than 2.4 million people, or over 5 to 10% of patients annually, in the United States incur hospital-acquired infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Operating Room drug resistant infections (“superbugs”) more than double the length of stay and costs for typical hospitalizations. The death rate from superbugs is approaching 90%, and is responsible for the deaths of approximately 123,000 patients per year.
The Operating Room is one culprit clearly acknowledged in the “superbug” problem. The CDC currently recommends against assessing operating room contamination by infectious agents, as no remedy for the problem previously existed, as complete room sterilization was not possible. Optimus has resolved this issue. For the first time, an evaluation of the impact of room contamination upon patient outcomes can be made.
Simplicity — areas for improvement in operating room efficiency
Use of Walls: Operating room walls are not multifunctional, and are used only to mount X-ray viewing boxes and wall outlets.
Operating Room Lighting: Ceiling-mounted surgical lights are cumbersome and ineffective. They may poorly illuminate the surgical field, are difficult to maneuver, and compete for precious space needed for other intra-operative technology. Hanging lights can pose a safety hazard for surgical staff.
Information Flow: Despite the digital revolution that has transformed our offices and homes, operating room information technology has progressed little since the 1970’s. A lack of real-time information results in an environment that is inefficient, and sometimes risky, when the absence of accurate data leads to hospital errors.
Systems Integration: The wide array of specialized equipment is not incorporated into a cohesive operating room control system, leading to confusion and user error.
Operating Room Turnover time: In addition to inefficient re-stocking, standard room design increases turnover time, often resulting in cost overruns and overtime expenses. An average of 12.5 minutes per case is currently spent looking for missing equipment.