Operating theatre teams around the world face fresh challenges every year. In this post we’ll explore some of the current issues in operating theatres, and examine the ways in which operating theatre teams are rising to meet these challenges.
Infection Control and Ventilation
The pandemic caused severe disruption to all surgical specialties. UK operating theatres cancelled elective surgical procedures while avoiding aerosol generating procedures (AGPs).
A recent paper in the Royal College of Surgeons annals reported on how operating theatres across the world had used negative pressure environments to reduce the spread of infectious airborne particles during AGPs. This paper went on to present an overview on how operating theatre ventilation systems can work to reduce both virus transmissions and surgical site infections (SSIs).
The paper concludes that, while there is not yet enough evidence to recommend that all operating theatres convert to negative pressure environments, all health settings should have negative pressure rooms available for high-risk patients.
Head here to read the latest research on operating theatre ventilation in the Royal College of Surgeons annals.
You can also read our guide to cleaning for infection prevention and control in operating theatres.
Improving Operating Room Efficiency
One of the current issues in operating theatres is how to improve efficiency while reducing turnaround time between procedures. A recent paper in Folio 3 Digital Health explored the possibilities of using Internet of Things (IOT) devices to improve operating room efficiency best practices.
“Smart” medical equipment allows for predictive maintenance, so teams can address any potential issues long before they become problems. IOT devices can also help reduce medical errors during surgical processes through allowing for faster and more powerful data sharing among the operating team.
Head here to read the full paper on the possibilities of IOT devices in operating theatres.
In June 2020, the NHS England Improvement Hub published a resource entitled The Productive Operating Theatre. This is a series of modules designed to help theatre teams work together to improve the quality of the patient experience and the safety of surgical services. The resource outlines ways in which theatres can make best use of available time and expertise.
Head here to access the full suite of Productive Operating Theatre resources.
Consumables and Equipment Management
A key focus area for improving operating theatre efficiency is good management of consumables and equipment. Investing in connected IOT devices might be a good long-term goal. But lower-tech solutions can help operating theatre teams make huge improvements to efficiency in the short-term too.
For example, we stock a range of absorbent floor mats designed to capture fluids during surgical procedures. They can help you to optimise your fluid management, which won’t just improve health and safety – it’ll also optimise your turnaround times between procedures.
Communication and Working Together to Overcome Challenges
The Association for Perioperative Practice recently ran an online survey asking theatre nurses to share their experiences of work, and the challenges they face in the theatre environment.
The charity aimed to highlight issues such as bullying, pressure, and support from senior members. As in an operating theatre environment, these issues don’t just result in unpleasant working environments. The working environment can affect patient safety and outcomes.
The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, first published in 2010, contains numerous measures to help operating theatres foster a supportive environment based on mutual respect. For example, it outlines that all surgical procedures should start with a briefing, during which senior staff members should actively welcome queries and concerns from junior staff members.
Head here to read our full guide to the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist.
Improving the Running of Your Operating Theatre
At Cairn Technology, we’re here to help you run your operating theatre more efficiently and effectively. We have a number of products and services to help you do that, and a team of experts on hand to give you the advice you need.
For example, our absorbent floor mats can help you to optimise your fluid management to help your health and safety and turnaround times, as well as other surgical supplies for infection control and high-level performance.
Do You Have a Question About Current Issues in Operating Theatres?
Whether you want a consultation on effective infection control, or some advice on improving operational effectiveness in the theatre, our experts are here to help.