The OR of the Future: Overcome Challenges to Reap Rewards

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , March 23, 2010

The intra-operative MRI allows surgeons to examine a patient while he or she is still in the OR to make sure  the entire tumor has been removed, reducing reoperation rates. "It's had a profound impact on patient care," says Kamal Thapar, MD, director of the brain and spine institute and director for tertiary care at Sacred Heart, as well as a neurosurgeon with Marshfield Clinic.

Screw malposition rates are just one example of how the technology is improving outcomes. If medical screws, which are used to stabilize the spine, are not positioned correctly, the results can be fatal, so most patients must undergo a second surgery to fix poor placement. The average screw malposition rate is about 5%. Thapar's freehand screw malposition rate was about 2.5%. After the hospital opened its new OR, the screw malposition rate dropped to less than 0.1%. The re-operating rate went from 15% to 0%. "This was the first time in my entire career I achieved a zero anything," he said.

That's the kind of outcome that has more and more hospitals considering OR upgrades, despite their cost, complex nature, and the intense work—and teamwork—they require.

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