HealthTrust adds the OR integration category of products

It’s been 22 years since the World Health Organization launched the “Safe Surgery Saves Lives” campaign to improve patient safety in the operating room. The components that go into OR safety range from the surgeon’s skills to the features of the OR, including its equipment, lighting and sound.

While the decades-long push to improve OR safety isn’t new, technology plays an ever-increasing role in this effort. Most recently, technology has been harnessed to create integrated ORs, in which all OR systems can be controlled by the circulating nurse from a single touch-screen. While the concept of integrated OR technology has long been in existence, the evolution of the technology has created sophisticated platforms that enhance the surgical experience for clinicians, physicians, patients and their families. This not only includes environmental controls such as temperature adjustments, lighting and sound, but also surgical equipment, video imaging for laparoscopic procedures and even access to patient information.

HealthTrust is excited about transitioning OR integration technology and products from other categories and providing OR integration its well-deserved category recognition.

Integration advantages

Jennifer Westendorf, MSN, RN, CNOR

Because OR integration is a new HealthTrust category, the organization invited all suppliers to provide presentations to the Surgical Advisory Board (SAB) during virtual board meetings in November 2020 and January 2021. “We thought it was important that the Surgical Advisory Board receive education and additional information on the variety of OR integration systems available,” says Jennifer Westendorf, MSN, RN, CNOR, Director of HealthTrust’s Surgical Board.

The SAB learned much about the various capabilities of integrated OR platforms, including their communication capabilities. “Historically, an RN would have to pick up the phone, call the waiting room and deliver an update to the waiting room staff, who would then pass the message on to the patients’ family members,” Westendorf explains. “Some OR integration platforms allow the nurse to send an update via a text message directly to the family members, eliminating several steps in the process.”

Tamara Henon, RN, CNOR, CMRP

Board members also learned how this technology can be customized. “The OR integration platform can be preprogrammed to a specific surgeon’s preferences,” says Tamara Henon, RN, CNOR, CMRP. “This greatly increases efficiency and physician satisfaction.” Other advantages of using OR integration products include:

  • Fewer cables and cords, reducing the risk of accidents
  • Better control of sterile environments, due to the single touchpad and voice-recognition/activation capabilities of some modules
  • The ability to share real-time surgical videos with remote clinicians or students

Maximum efficiency

In a qualitative study that involved interviews with surgeons and nurses working in integrated ORs in several hospitals, the main advantage interviewees cited was improved workflow during surgery. The study authors wrote, “Both surgeons and surgical nurses experienced that the integrated ORs facilitated smoother and more efficient working procedures in terms of faster response on requests for adjustments of surgical equipment and functionalities and fewer disruptions during surgery.”

Integrated ORs can also provide information about each procedure going on at once to a single command center, allowing the board runner/charge nurse to shift cases to minimize delays and adjust staffing. “Without it,” says Westendorf, “the charge nurse has to visit each OR for updates.”

Paula Branson

Paula Branson, Director, Capital Equipment Services, adds, “When looking to purchase an OR integration platform, all key stakeholders should be included in the planning process. These may include physicians, RNs, radiology, lab, biomed, facilities management and administration.”

In the future, look for integrated OR technology to offer even more advancements, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality and more patient-centric services.

Watch the Response newsletter to know when this category of products has been added to the Member Portal.

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