5 Steps You Need to Consider with Operating Rooms

Infections in operating rooms during surgery are a serious issue. Surgical site infections in the skin, tissue, organs, or an implant can prolong hospital stays by more than a week. In severe cases, it can lead to death.

Design and architecture of space is a major factor in preventing surgical site infections. The physical environment and ventilation of the room affects how pathogens travel through the air. The design of the facility can contribute to operating room efficiency or challenge the cost-efficiency of surgical care. A well-designed operating room requires emphasis on how the patient, tools and staffing flows and integrates with support resources. It considers future growth, market expansion and surgical discipline-specific facility requirements.

To help you get started, we have compiled a best practices guide for surgical room design.

5 Best Practices to Consider in Designing a Surgery Room

An inadequate operating room design can result in unnecessarily high staffing levels; inefficient use of surgeons’ time; decreased patient, surgeon, and anesthesiologist satisfaction; poor inventory quality; increased costs of operation; and decreased marketability to patients and surgeons. Five design factors to consider for surgery rooms are size, table location, infection control, technology, and innovation.

Choose the Ideal Size for Operating Rooms

The size of an operating room should be determined based on the types of operations that will be performed, number of required surgical staff, and the size of frequently used diagnostic and medical equipment.

Having the right size room is one of the most fundamental requirements for any operating room. They should be large enough for efficient patient transfer, sterile equipment setup, and roll-in diagnostic imaging equipment if necessary. It should also have a large area for circulation so that the staff don’t interfere with an ongoing procedure.

Bigger, however, is not always better. Unused space in the room tends to attract unnecessary supply and storage items. Blueprints of operation rooms in different sizes help determine the suitability and efficiency.

Determine Operating Table and Boom Location

Where you locate your operating table will largely depend on the workflow of the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other supporting staff. As the room size, shape, and table are determined, the location and quantity of the ceiling-mounted booms should also be considered. Most operating room lighting uses LED technology with less heat but brighter and whiter light, most with adjustable arms.

Other supportive equipment placement to consider include anesthesia machines, monitors, outlets, information technology and high-definition cameras.

Control and Minimize Infections

The operating room mechanical system is one of the most important elements to consider. In order to minimize the risk of infection, operating rooms are often supported by a high air change rate than required and a built-to-meet airborne pathogen-free environment requirement.

In some cases, a structural truss and plenum system are used to maximize mechanical space above the operating room table. In other cases, a modular stainless steel panel is mounted into the wall and ceiling finishes to lower infection sources with a nonporous surface that resists bacteria and germ growth.

Invest in Advanced Technology

Beyond the basics, operating rooms may also include advanced equipment such as imaging tools, patient information technologies or virtual surgical navigation systems. In hybrid operation rooms, diagnostic imaging equipment such as an MRI may also be installed.

Support Innovation

No matter how sophisticated an operation room is, it cannot function on its own. It must be supported by a clean core, central sterile and storage and support spaces. How this is implemented may vary.

For example, adding a sterile equipment setup room between operating rooms with the same ventilation system helps reduce prep and turn-around time. Another example is a pass-through window between operating rooms, which helps reduce movement between spaces and unnecessary risks of infection.

These innovations aren’t necessarily obvious at first, but it does reflect the latest trends in design efficiency for operating rooms of the future.

As the development of medical technology continues to accelerate, the surgical environment and best practices will change, as well. In a decade, who knows what the future operating room will look like? What we do know is this: it will not be a simple space anymore. Innovation is taking hold of how surgery rooms operate and function.

To explore the potential spaces available to you for an operating room or collection of operating theaters, be sure to peruse our list of medical properties available to rent within Los Angeles and its surroundings.