3 Tech Tips for the Surgical Suite

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , September 13, 2011


3. Put your technologies in the right place

A multi-purpose outpatient center has the power to improve operational efficiency—allowing services to share large and expensive technologies, for example. One such center allowed The Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX, to share the MRI suite with 10 centers that use the same technology, says Roberta Schwartz, senior vice president of operations.

"What we did with the building is try—to the best of our ability—to co-locate services that made sense," she says. "For services such as cancer that have all-encompassing services, we gave them a home. This is the first building where they've really had a comprehensive home for all cancer services, and that was inclusive of their location for tumor boards, their physician clinics, their infusion space. Cancer isn't located on six floors; they've got a floor in the building. Could we have built a stand-alone cancer center? Sure. But we could co-locate that with all of the imaging services that they needed."

Similarly, Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, NY, was aiming for safety and consistency when it consolidated surgical services. "There is a cost for quality—the cost of a piece of equipment. Do you replicate it five times or do you ask patients to travel some distance?" says Lorraina Smith-Zuba, RN, Bassett's director of perioperative services.

St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, NY has a new building with 17 operating rooms and is opening six new ORs, one of which is a hybrid cardiac endovascular suite that enables imaging and surgery in one sterile environment.

The hybrid ORs will help with a national percutaneous valve implants trial it's conducting. "We're currently using our cath labs, but the cardiac hybrid is the ideal location. Just the technology alone, the robotic nature of the c-arm, and being able to convert in seconds from an imaging facility to an operating facility is going to make work a more pleasurable experience," says Newell Robinson, MD, chair of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery.

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