by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | February 25, 2015
From the January/February 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Walk into a modern hybrid operating room today and you will be surrounded with state-of-the-art equipment. The technologies ranging from the imaging systems to integration solutions have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. But a fully equipped hybrid OR comes with a hefty price tag that typically only the large teaching hospitals could afford. And such rooms were reserved exclusively for cardiac and vascular procedures because of the influx of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) technology.
However, now the rooms are used for a greater diversity of procedures including neurological, pediatric and orthopedic surgery and can pay for themselves even at smaller hospitals. Those smaller facilities have been taking on hybrid OR projects recently in order to stay competitive and retain their patient bases.
Greater diversity has also spurred manufacturers to develop solutions to actually fit all the technology into the space. While challenging to implement, careful planning of how and where the various technologies will fit into the space has become incredibly important. In some cases the drive to create the most efficient space has even resulted in vendors joining together to deliver the best solutions for customers.
Utilization is the name of the game
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The shift away from only cardiac and vascular procedures toward a more diverse mix including orthopedic, pediatric and neurological procedures is part of a growing trend, according to Tom Watson, clinical analyst at MD Buyline. The number of patients qualifying for cardiac and vascular procedures is currently modest due to some of the FDA’s TAVR device restrictions.
Many of the trans-catheter procedures are currently limited to patients who cannot undergo traditional open-heart valve replacement because they fall into the high or extreme risk category.
In order for a hospital to have the room pay for itself, the shift needed to happen. “If you invest in a hybrid OR and you spend close to $5 million by the time it’s finished, you need that room to be utilized between five to seven days a week,” says David Browne, senior group marketing manager at MAQUET Medical Systems USA. “It’s not enough to simply do a few different procedures a week.”
Now that CMS is bundling payments, it’s more important than ever to bring as many medical professionals into the same room as possible, according to Sudhir Kulkarni, segment director of hybrid OR at Siemens Healthcare.