Orchestration of the surgical process: What it is and how it can boost patient flow
Since our foundation in 2012, we have focused on developing systems and solutions that help transform healthcare towards digitalization. A digitalization whose sole purpose is to improve both the work of medical professionals and the care received by patients. It is simply applying the technology we already have at our disposal to create a healthcare system that is much more efficient with its current resources and sustainable in the long term.
Our first steps were with Real-Time Locating Solutions (RTLS), however, what we learned during its implementation and performance in hospitals such as La Fe in Valencia allowed us to go a step further and develop a much more complex and complete system: ORvital. A solution that goes much further than a traditional RTLS with a multitude of applications for healthcare systems, especially highlighting the orchestration of processes.
On numerous occasions, we have already explained the benefits of ORvital, how it can be of great value to professionals and patients, and even the great role it can play in the fight against the pandemic and its consequences. However, on this occasion, we would like to take a closer look at the concept.
What is the orchestration of the surgical process and how does it enhance patient flow?
Our concept of orchestration is nothing more than an intelligent system capable of coordinating the processes carried out within the surgical area by each of the teams involved. So, it is possible to apply rules and logic that are able to improve workflows by means of tasks and information accessible to the different professionals. And also the entire process of the patient from admission to the end of the operation is controlled by the system, which is capable of displaying the necessary and appropriate information to each person so that they can carry out their work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Putting the concept into practice, we now contrast how the traditional surgical process works with how an orchestrated operating theatre would work.
In a traditional operating theatre scenario, the Operation Theatre Manager is in charge of controlling patient flow, ensuring the provision of basic structural resources, control of nursing processes and circuits within the Operating Theatre.
In this way, he/she must be the person who is aware of each of the processes to be carried out during a normal working day and coordinate all the teams involved.
For example, the OR Manager must be aware of when an operation is finished in order to notify the porters to transfer the patient and then the cleaning team to prepare the operating theatre for the next operation.
You should also be aware of when the cleaning work is finished and inform the pre-operative team that the next patient can be brought in.
On the other hand, he/she must also be aware of delays and be able to manage them as efficiently as possible to minimize the impact on patient care.
Each team must also be attentive to the different needs and changes that occur during the process, in addition to keeping relatives regularly informed of the patient’s condition.
This means that communication and coordination are vital, a combination that is difficult to achieve when it is done verbally and with all the hustle and bustle of an area such as Surgical Block.
This is precisely where ORvital’s orchestration can be a vital support for all the teams involved.
Our IoT-RTLS solution not only provides the location of patients and their status but also allows tasks to be created automatically when their location or status changes. Therefore, when the operating theatre changes the patient’s status, the porters are immediately alerted to transfer the patient, and the cleaning team is notified so that they can get the operating theatre ready again.
In addition, the system allows relatives to know in real-time, through information screens and a mobile application, the status of the patients. This avoids interruptions to the professionals, and it is also possible to send them messages to add more information.
But the orchestration of the operating theatre starts even earlier… with ORvital and its surgical scheduler function, it is possible to create the Surgical Block schedule quickly, effectively, and efficiently based on the parameters selected by the hospital: maximum waiting list time, waiting patients, available operating theatres, etc.
As a result, real planning is created and adjusted to the maximum resources and people, thus minimizing delays and last-minute cancellations.
In addition, ORvital’s capacity to supervise the environmental conditions of the operating theatre. In hospitals such as Vall d’Hebron, this has led to energy savings in the surgery unit of up to 30%, more than 2000MWh per year, and a reduction in expenditure of 150,000 euros, i.e. 8,000 euros per operating theatre.
Undoubtedly, organizing, controlling, and coordinating all the processes involved in the Surgical Block is a complete task. However, thanks to real-time localization, IoT systems, and process orchestration, it is possible to carry out the work with far fewer interruptions, more coordinated communication that avoids unnecessary calls, better management of resources, and minimization of cancellations and delays.
In short, ORvital’s orchestration of operating theatres provides a very scarce asset in hospitals, which is essential: time. This time is very much needed so that healthcare professionals can dedicate it to what matters most, the patients.