Study: ORs see too much foot traffic

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

November 11, 2015

A new “secret shopper” study released today by Johns Hopkins found that OR teams may be going in and out of the OR more than necessary.
During a three-month period, researchers tracked how many times and how long the OR doors were open during nearly 200 knee and hip arthroplasty surgeries performed at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, according to a Johns Hopkins release.  In one-third of the procedures, the doors were opened enough to affect positive pressure systems designed to keep germs out of sterile ORs.

“Our findings add to a growing body of evidence of a relatively common practice that could be a potential safety concern, and raises questions about why doors get opened and how we can prevent or minimize the frequency and duration of behaviors that could compromise OR sterility,” said study senior author Stephen Belkoff, PhD, MPH, an associate professor in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the director of the International Center for Orthopaedic Advancement.

While the risks for infection are typically rare with this type of procedure, the study’s authors are encouraging hospitals to explore solutions to limit unnecessary door openings, including implementing a process to ensure all of the necessary materials and supplies are stocked before the surgery begins.

For more information, read the full study in this month’s issue of Orthopedics.