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The Comprehensive Guide to Setting Up The Present Day Operating Room

By Dustin Spencer | February 8, 2018

Building a new operating room is a complex process that involves balancing needs of facility staff with construction costs, while also looking forward to future healthcare trends.

To make planning and construction go smoothly, it helps to consider every possible variable at the outset of the growth process.

Evaluate the Current Operating Room

Before officially embarking on the facility planning process, it’s necessary to take stock of how existing operating room space is utilized. Are there any navigation or bottlenecking issues in the current operating room?

During this process, identify and consult with staff members to collect their feedback. This not only includes the surgery team, but also those in radiology, administration, laboratory, and beyond.

Set Goals for the New Project

What will be the focus of the operating room? Does the facility plan to integrate or expand its imaging capabilities? Will the new space require more room for specialized procedures, which can require a larger surgical staff?

To begin the planning and design phases, several factors must be considered. These can easily be broken down into the room’s size, orientation and layout, and supporting systems. Further designs for accompanying spaces are also key.

Room Size 

In its 2014 Operating Room Requirements Guidelines, the Facility Guidelines Institute recommends that the minimum inpatient operating room size be no less than 400 square feet. Operating spaces designed for specialized procedures generally require more staff and are recommended to be at least 600 square feet.

Room for Expansion

Whether facility expansion is necessitated by regulatory changes, or as the side effect of a rapidly growing practice, the expertly-planned OR can adapt and grow if needed.

Room Orientation and Layout   

Typical Equipment List for Today's Operating Room

Current Space Expectations in Today’s Operating Room

A crucial part of planning the layout of any operating room is arranging all of the necessary equipment while accounting for all of the daily tasks performed there. A few of these tasks, including patient transfer, sterile equipment setup, and using a mobile C-arm during a procedure, take up a sizeable amount of space. A modern OR needs to be able to accommodate all of these, while still maintaining space for all surgical staff to move efficiently through each procedure.

Space Saving SolutionsSurgery team working together in a surgical room.jpeg

An easy way to make sure there is enough maneuvering space in a smaller operating room is to center the design around the surgical table. Larger rooms offer more flexibility for positioning the operating room table, because there will always be enough space to move around the perimeter.

In modern operating room design, ceiling mounted booms have allowed operating room designers to negotiate around limited floor space. It isn’t uncommon to see a wide range of equipment and system ports located on booms that can be positioned easily for a variety of procedures.

System Development 

Successful placement of operating room furnishings and equipment is dependent on the supporting utility and architectural systems that are installed during the construction process. Without careful planning and installation of these systems, the operating room cannot function efficiently.

Ancillary Spaces 

Sterile Processing Room

Recent surgical guidelines are favoring the use of sterile processing rooms over sub sterile rooms located within the surgery suite. These sterile processing rooms are designed to be separate from the operating suite but may be shared between two or more operating rooms.

Changing Room

The 2014 FGI guidelines no longer require staff locker rooms to open directly into the surgical suite. Moving forward, facilities must provide a changing room with lockers, but it may be unisex and can be shared with other departments in the facility. 

Future OR Outlook 

To build an operating room with longevity, it’s necessary to consider the eventual integration of new technology including endovascular, MRI, and imaging equipment. Preparation for new technology could include increasing the operating room size, and maintaining flexible, modular designs. Other current trends are increased operating room storage space, and a greater design emphasis on patient privacy during pre- and post-op.

About CME: CME Corp is the nation’s premier source for healthcare equipment, turnkey logistics, and biomedical services, representing 2 million+ products from more than 2,000 manufacturers.

With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule. Please view our We Are CME video, and call us at 800-338-2372. 

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