Interview • Management

Digitized OR: accessible data without media discontinuity

Defined processes and competencies are essential in the operating room along with the allocation of staff. Yet the OR-Barometer 2015 that is published every other year by the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, reveals that only 47 percent of the surveyed nursing staff in the fields of surgery and anesthesiology are satisfied with the level of organization in operating rooms. In this interview, Stephanie Rieß of the MEIERHOFER AG explains how digital OR management solutions contribute in optimizing all OR relevant processes.

Interview: Melanie Günther

Mount Sinai Neurosurgeon First to Use Microscope Imaging System That Integrates Virtual Reality Technology.

Mrs. Rieß, in your opinion, what is the reason for organizational problems in the OR?

There are many different professional groups that join forces every day in the operating room. Their availability needs to be coordinated along with the availability of OR rooms, materials, and equipment. There are frustrating situations when a central coordinating authority that’s accepted by all parties is missing. This is the case for instance when patients, personnel, and operating room are available, yet the room cannot be used because the cleaning staff is unavailable.

You offer an OR management solution with MCC.OP. How does it combine the interests of all involved professions in the OR?

MCC consolidates the data needed to ensure a smooth workflow for all professional groups. To do this, MCC takes all of the operational procedures in and around the OR into consideration. The software connects specialty departments and professions both at the data and organizational level and provides all data without media discontinuity as a central information hub. The basis for this is standardized communication with other systems and medical technology. This closed loop information management strategy is an essential component to ensure smooth processes.

How can OR schedules be smoothly coordinated using MCC.OP?

All OR registrations and the entire planning process are – even in the case of an emergency – digital as well as interdisciplinary and handled by the respective users. All surgical interventions are identified with references to allergies, septic OR procedures, patients with infectious diseases, special required equipment, and corresponding resource planning, so every associate is fully informed.

The operating room coordinator also has graphic overviews on professional quotas, OR capacities or emergency contingents at his disposal. The coordinator coordinates emergencies and intervenes in case of changes and delays. Automated time and resource management simplifies the planning process. The system suggests available times and the coordinator chooses the time. Graphical planning via drag & drop in a calendar, combined with automated features of the planning assistant, makes the system completely adapted to the complex requirements of today’s OR logistics. It renders the optimized operation of 40 operating rooms at the University Hospital Erlangen possible for instance.

What is the role of the “digital assistants“?

Digital assistants are an essential element of the system and crucial for providing true support to the staff that schedules and documents OR processes. The planning assistant is the starting point of any OR scheduling. This is where the patient appears right after admission. The patient case number, as well as the responsible department, are automatically taken over by the assistant, resulting in a positive patient identification and allocation of all data created from this point onward. By choosing the type of operating room or the intended intervention, the planning assistant automatically organizes the predefined staffing requirements, equipment availability, and materials. The assistant also supports planning processes for emergency cases and includes operating room assignments for special OR situations such as surgeries of patients with sepsis and infections.

What are the advantages for the staff, hospital, and the patients?

Digitized OR management primarily ensures patient security and greater potential costs savings for hospitals. The assumption is that every minute of operating room time on average costs approximately 16 Euros. Missing documentation, incomplete material, an unavailable operating room or a patient who is not there on time prevent the surgery from starting on time. That costs money. MCC.OP Management helps in optimizing capacity utilization and reducing financial gaps thanks to the documentation assistant.

Employee satisfaction is also improved because the staff is able to rely on the planning process. Reports and services are available after the surgery is completed and contribute to quality improvement. Digital management with MCC provides anytime access to all digitally available information, namely electronic health records, laboratory results or high-resolution x-ray images. And since the surgical information is also available after the patient has left for the intensive care unit or a normal hospital ward, no media discontinuities will stand in the way of smooth postoperative care.


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