Why ORs are getting a makeover

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Many hospitals and health systems nationwide are rethinking the layout of their operating rooms to better accommodate technology, patients and staff, reports The New York Times.

The renovations and reconfigurations are largely driven by the rise of new equipment, such as surgical robots, that healthcare organizations must fit into ORs designed long before such technologies existed. 

Building a new OR is the most straightforward way to remedy this issue, but it can be expensive. In some cases, the projects can cost $1 million to $3 million per surgical suite, according to Scott T. Reeves, MD, anesthesia and perioperative medicine chair at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. 

"The takeaway from Covid is how rigid many operating rooms are. I think you'll see a lot of architecture firms be more nimble in their designs. And while that comes with an increased cost, it's a question of either pay me now or pay me later," said Dr. Reeves, who recently helped redesign the OR at Medical University of South Carolina Children's R. Keith Summey Medical Pavilion.

Smaller hospitals with tighter budgets are also getting more creative with OR design when total renovations are not feasible. Such efforts include raising OR ceilings to the new standard of 12 feet to 16 feet, mounting monitors to the wall to free up floor space or repurposing adjoining rooms to hold electronics and other equipment.  

Whether refitting or rebuilding an OR from the ground up, the biggest question hospitals will continue to grapple with is how to "future proof" these clinical areas amid such rapid technological advancements, the Times said.

To view the Times' full article, click here.

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