7 ways to minimize noise in the OR

Too much noise in the operating room can distract surgeons and increase the risk for medical errors, according to an article published Monday by The Joint Commission.

Here are seven actions hospitals can take to address noise levels in the OR, as listed by The Joint Commission.

  1. Create a "no-interruption zone" to prohibit nonessential conversation and activities during critical phases of a surgery.

  1. Measure noise levels in the OR to provide evidence for noise-reduction strategies and empirical data to demonstrate the efficacy of such strategies. Measurements can also provide real-time information to the OR team, informing them when noise levels are exceeding recommended levels.

  1. Educate staff on how OR noise affects patient and staff safety, and offer noise reduction strategies.

  1. Use alternative equipment that produces less noise in the OR, whenever possible.

  1. Consider the physical environment of the OR and identify ways to reduce noise, such as cutting down on the amount of times metal surgical tools are dropped on instrument trays.

  1. Use simulation and training to enhance clinicians' focused attention skills amid noise and distractions.

  1. Consider simulation training to practice and assess the efficacy of noise-reduction strategies.

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