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Current Projects

Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human-Centered Design in the Operating Room (RIPCHD.OR)

Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human Centered Design in the OR (RIPCHD.OR): This 4-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality supports the development of a learning lab focused on designing a safer, more ergonomic operating room.

Sponsor: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Project period: 9/1/15 to 8/31/19

Project Description: The overarching goal of the learning lab titled, “Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human-Centered Design in the Operating Room (RIPCHD.OR) is to develop an evidence-based framework and methodology for the design and operation of operating rooms such that it impacts improved perioperative outcomes including surgical site infections, surgical errors and staff injuries.

The Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human-Centered Design in the Operating Room (RIPCHD.OR) learning lab will use a socio-technical approach incorporating human factors engineering and evidence-based design principles to create an optimal ergonomically sound operating room that results in improved patient and staff safety. A multidisciplinary team comprising of human factors and industrial engineers, architects, environment and behavior researchers, medical equipment planners, anesthesiologists, nurses and quality and patient safety experts from Clemson University, Health Sciences South Carolina (HSSC) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are collaboratively working together to develop and test through iterative design cycles and implement and evaluate various design solutions. The design, process and technology solutions that emerge from this learning lab will be implemented and tested in the new MUSC Ambulatory Surgery Center in Charleston, SC.

Three highly interrelated and integrated patient safety focused projects related to key aspects of OR suite design will be undertaken over the course of four years:

Project 1: Unmasking of anesthesia-related alarms and communications

This work extends what is known about alarms, interruptions, and distractions in the operating room by examining them from a systems perspective. The proposed work will involve three phases with the goals of: 1) developing and evaluating systems design methods that account for masking affect tasks within the OR environment and 2) exploring interface design as a means to mitigate the effects of masking.

Project 2: Traffic flow and door openings in the OR

This project will focus on understanding factors impacting traffic flow in the OR suite. Using a systems approach, the flow of supplies, equipment, information and people in the OR will be studied and the factors impacting traffic flow and distribution will be analyzed to develop solutions that will minimize door openings and flow disruptions in the OR.

Project 3: Integrated OR suite design

This project provides the overall framework for integrating the work of this learning lab. This project will develop. This project aims to develop an overall framework and methodology for designing an ergonomic and human-centered operating room that will improve patient and staff safety and outcomes in the OR. The project team for OR suite design will work closely with other project cores to determine optimum procedure room configuration, orientation and intra-room zoning that supports the performance of the surgical team, improves workflow within the team, enhances visibility of work and team members, minimizes distractions of team members and reduces risk of surgical site infections.

Related publications/presentations


Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human-Centered Design in the OR | Volume 1



Operating Room Simulation + Build - Charleston, South Carolina