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04.05.2021 | News

Why you should build your OR twice – 4 success factors for planning OR environments

You know the situation from building a house. As soon as you have moved in, you notice optimization potentials that you had not seen on the basis of the planning and you could start restructuring the rooms directly. New construction or remodeling of operating rooms is even more complex. If you do not invest enough time in detailed planning, you can quickly find yourself in a cost trap or may have to live with a compromise that does not ideally support the processes within the OR. In order to achieve an efficient and future-proof solution, we recommend that you build your OR twice - even if this sounds strange at first - once virtually and then in reality. In this article, Tobias, our Head of Product Management Individual Room Solutions, describes the success factors within the planning phase of OR projects and why virtual planning can make your OR more efficient.

The right project scope

1. Define the scope of your project

At the beginning, you need to be clear about the objectives of your project, what procedures you want to perform, what types of patients you are treating and what their needs and requirements are for the operating room environment. Together with the knowledge of what the planning in the periphery looks like in terms of room program, supply and disposal routes, etc., this forms the basis for your planning project and all further planning steps should be aligned accordingly.

The right project stakeholders

2. Define the right project stakeholders

It is important to involve the right people in the development and planning process from the beginning. Among others, those who know the required processes and have an influence on patient treatment, or participate in it, such as surgery, anesthesia and nursing, should be involved in the planning. If you mix this practical knowledge with experience from medical technology planning and the interfaces to the technical building equipment, the chances are good to develop and implement an individual working environment tailored to the needs of the users. For these reasons, a user-oriented result is not possible without the participation of the users in the planning process. Only with an optimal environment, optimal results in patient treatment and healing can be achieved.

workflow-based planning

3. It’s all about the process – orient yourself to your internal processes

A new OR building or an OR renovation always offers the opportunity to optimize the processes in the OR by rearranging the equipment and thus to save operating time and money later on. Therefore, when planning and designing your future OR environment, you should not only consider the spatial conditions but also the individual processes in the OR. These processes include, for example, the arrangement of the OR staff around the operating table as well as the walking routes and tasks of the respective persons in the OR. All these factors are recorded in the workflow-based planning.

This is how ideal workflow-based planning works:

  • Functional target definition: Which procedures and interventions are to be performed later in the OR?
  • Development of the necessary procedures, also in connection with subsequent functional rooms: Where do e.g. patients, surgical instruments, material and the personnel come from and what happens after the procedure?
  • Creation of a three-dimensional design on the basis of the developed fundamentals, furnishing according to requirements
  • Checking the procedures on the basis of the visualized design or in virtual space
  • Further development and completion of the design until it is approved by the user
  • Result: a design checked and confirmed in virtual reality
  • Real implementation of the project

Definition workflow-based planning

We use workflow-based planning to describe our approach, which is not based on various wishes or design requirements, but rather focuses on the use and functionalities of the project development. To define the basis, we therefore explicitly consider the individually required processes and their needs for the facility. This procedure ensures that the later furnishing and design of the OR or OR environment is precisely aligned and implemented according to the user requirements.

4. Create a common understanding from the beginning

Based on the spatial conditions and the process-based information collected, the next step is to prepare drafts of the planned OR. On the basis of these, further developments are then made and the planning is thus further refined. Here, I repeatedly experience that not everyone involved has the same understanding of the draft planning, which can lead to misunderstandings and resulting wrong decisions.

I want to illustrate it quite vividly. When you look at the two pictures: Which representation makes it easier for you to imagine the future space?

On the one hand, we have a classic floor plan. On the other side, we have an additional virtual plan of the future premises. 

When you look at the floor plan, can you say whether, for example, the arrangement of the monitor is ideal? In individual cases this may be possible, but it cannot necessarily be determined intuitively. However, combining the two-dimensional floor plan with a walk-through of the three-dimensional virtual project opens up further potential for improvement. 

The virtual 3D walk-through lets everyone experience the new environment even before the real construction begins, and it is easier to discuss individual issues because the 3D visualization creates a unified picture in the minds of those involved. There is no room for interpretation or individual ideas about how something will look, and that's exactly the kind of precision we need for such cost-intensive projects. Of course, the creation of a virtual planning is initially an additional expense, but I often experience here that our customers notice further potential for improvement, which further streamlines the processes and makes them run more smoothly. Even if it's just a matter of moving an OR door or positioning a wall monitor on the opposite wall because it's easier to see from the OR table there. These seemingly small changes hold great potential for future savings. Finally, it is also possible to develop design aspects right down to the color concept in virtual reality.

If the planning is carried out in such a targeted and detailed manner, you have already created a very good basis for the success of your project.

Our offer

Bringing all these components together is very time-consuming and requires a certain routine. With us as your partner, you don't have to worry about all these things. We coordinate the operating room planning, bring the parties involved to the table and not only plan your project, but also implement it in cooperation with the other trades. These are your advantages when you decide on a project with us:

  • One contact for all parts of your project
  • Efficient project implementation. Uniform understanding right from the start avoids time-consuming and costly rescheduling.
  • A clearly structured and efficient OR working environment from the user's point of view. 
  • Fast construction time and commissioning. Our prefabricated modules allow us to reduce your downtime to a minimum, so you can get back to operating quickly.
  • Future-proof. Our room solutions are modular, so you can replace or expand individual parts at any time without having to change the overall concept right away.
  • More than just planning. We have been developing innovative surgical solutions since 1896. We have developed our project business on the basis of this industry experience. This means that, in addition to consulting and planning, we can also offer you products during implementation that combine to form a complete solution.

Would you like more information about our offer?

Then feel free to contact me directly.

Tobias

Head of Product Management Individual Room Solutions and Project Department

M: info@klsmartin.com

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