Harnessing the benefits of digital transformation in the operating room
The operating room is a dynamic and demanding space. As surgical departments try to grow their case volumes without adding real estate, logistical issues can pop up around every corner. How can you leverage digital transformation to optimize your physical OR space? Here are three tips:
1. Support flexible workflows with flexible infrastructure
OR technology should help surgical teams focus on the patient in front of them — not the equipment surrounding them. That’s why many hospitals are turning to operating room integration (ORI) solutions to help them manage the many inputs that come into play before, during and after a surgical procedure.
“When space is at a premium, you might think it would be simpler to share data between technologies and streamline workflows — but the opposite is often true,” says Dustin Mask, Solution Architect for OR Integration at Baxter International. “Limited space means you have to be more mindful of the infrastructure you’re adding with each new capability.”
Look for solutions that extend your clinicians’ abilities without adding physical space requirements. This may mean considering how best to use the infrastructure already in place in your walls and ceilings — not only to reuse it, but to make sure it is vendor neutral, so it can accommodate whatever technology your clinical team prefers or requires.
“If the infrastructure and cabling in your ceilings make it easy to change the technology attached to them over time, you will be better able to flex your room setups for different surgical workflows.”
2. Give clinicians a voice in surgical design discussions
While surgical case loads are growing for many hospitals, OR space is not necessarily following suit. As more technology is added to each room, space limitations are becoming more common. Setups must be chosen carefully, and clinical teams must have a seat at the table in this decision.
IT, Project Management and Construction teams are well versed in the infrastructure requirements for any given solution — but they may not be familiar with the intricacies of OR workflows. According to Mask, this disconnect is all too common.
“An IT professional might see there isn’t room to add an additional rack to an OR, so they may suggest mounting a monitor to a boom instead,” comments Mask. “However, a surgeon will tell you they don’t want that monitor in their sterile space. Clinicians absolutely need to be involved in design discussions if you expect the new setup to result in faster, more efficient surgical departments.”
3. Make it easy for staff to adopt the technology
To help your surgical teams do more in the same space, your digital transformation needs to add new capabilities without adding administrative burden. Simple connectivity between OR technologies is key to improving adoption.
“Video conferencing is a great example of this,” says Mask. “It’s been around for years, but when it was presented as a standalone solution, many clinicians felt it would add more work than value. However, we’ve seen that when it’s presented as an embedded part of a complete OR integration solution, the process is simplified so much that clinicians can now see value where they used to see headaches.”
ORI solutions are uniquely suited to streamline and consolidate the many data streams coming at surgical teams throughout a procedure into one interface. Easy-to-use features like touchless controls and drag-and-drop interfaces that mimic consumer technology can go a long way in making the technology less intimidating.
Just as digital transformation projects can help your people achieve more, they can also do the same for your physical space. By evaluating your infrastructure, involving the right teams and connecting your many data streams, IT departments can make a real impact on surgical efficiency. The transformation may start as digital, but the physical benefits will be all around you.
Hillrom is now a part of Baxter. Its Helion Integrated Surgical System acts as a gateway at surgical teams’ fingertips, providing the comprehensive simplicity they need to enhance efficiency and flexibility within the OR. Visit us online and discover how we can help you achieve peak procedural performance and connectivity today.