Operating theatre management for 110 operating theatres


The surgeons at the biggest hospital in the Nordic countries can now register patients for surgery electronically rather than on paper. The roll-out of DIPS Operating theatre management at 110 operating theatres at Oslo University Hospital (OUS) has gone exactly according to plan!

'Without a hitch,' summarises theatre nurse Sleshe Tolesa Habte and nurse anesthetist Marie Klogh about the new program they use before, during and after surgical procedures.

They feel a sense of relief, not surprisingly, about switching to using electronic forms for registering surgical procedures rather than trying to decipher the more or less illegible handwriting of the different surgeons.

Better than feared

Sub-project manager of the Operating theatre management program Liv-Marie Eilertsen Loraas at Oslo University Hospital is clearly very pleased as she runs around Ullevål Hospital, which has just started using DIPS Operating theatre management when d:mag pays a visit.

'This has gone much better than we feared. The project has had broad support, and there has been surprisingly little resistance,' she states.

During 2015, DIPS Operating theatre management has been rolled out at all operating theatres at OUS. This means that it is available at all 110 operating theatres. An impressive number, and more operating theatres are set for inclusion, but are yet to be equipped for it.

Training 'their own'

'A clear criteria for success has been to let the instructors train their own profession and discipline environments, e.g. having surgeons train surgeons. Conducting the training using their own jargon makes it more effective. Nonetheless, the day we switch on the system is very intense. It feels like a wave comes and swallows you up, and you have to remember everything you've learned. We dressed in green and went out to the different operating theatres to help the end users when they were stuck,' says Loraas.

Oslo University Hospital is a giant with respect to the size of its staff. Around 1,800 end users were given a two-hour course prior to start-up. In order to ensure the shortest possible period between the training and the system being taken into use, intensive training went on over a period of three weeks prior to the solution being introduced.

Support during the period just after start-up has proved to be important, as Klogh and Habte confirms.

'The follow-up period with the instructor has been very important. On Fridays, we have adjusted our schedule to allow time for some extra training. This has worked well. The only problem so far has been that surgeons who are in a rush have written their surgery reports using our logon, and haven't logged on as themselves. This is problematic in relation to liability issues, so this is something we must establish clearer procedures for,' the two nurses explain.

Full activity all the time

The project itself got off the ground in 2014, with a broadly composed working group consisting of 16 persons from different surgical environments and different locations at OUS. They agreed on what the electronic registration form was to look like, and developed the basis for the user manual and procedures. They also prepared a plan for the roll-out itself.

The project has also prepared its own quality procedures for the operating theatre managers who are key personnel, you could say the very hub of this system. In OUS, the operating theatre managers, less than 100 in total, have been established as a technical unit. They started work on putting the project into production before everyone else, and had transferred data from paper and other computer programs so that all locations had normal surgical schedules on the day the solution was switched on.

'We hadn’t planned a reduction in activity and haven’t registered lower activity in the operating theatres as a result of the new work procedures,' Loraas says.

DIPS Operating theatre management provides a number of benefits to end users, including, not least, enabling the staff on the wards to give patients and next-of-kin better information. Given that the operating theatre schedule is updated in real time, all the users can follow the progress of the work in the different theatres, and are therefore in a better position to calculate how long it will be until the next operation can start.

'The programme does not mean, however, that the users no longer need to confer, they have to follow the control procedures as before. But you can now ask more precise questions,' says project manager Liv-Marie Eilertsen Loraas.

Theatre nurse Sleshe Tolesa Habte and nurse anesthetist Marie Klogh work at the surgical department at Ullevål Hospital, and began using DIPS Operating theatre management this autumn.

Liv-Marie Eilertsen Loraas has led the roll-out of DIPS Operating theatre management at all Oslo University Hospital's locations.

DIPS Operating theatre management at OUS

The roll-out started at Aker Hospital in April 2015. The program had already been in use there, but this version contains new procedures and a new solution. The project was able to garner experience and solve any problems during this phase. The Norwegian Radium Hospital started using the system in June, Ullevål followed on 22 September, and Rikshospital University Hospital on 10 November.