Improving environmental quality in an operating room: clinical outcomes and economic implications


An experimental study was conducted in a hospital in Liguria (northern Italy) on two groups of patients with the same disease severity who were undergoing the same type of surgery (primary hemiarthroplasty). Our aim was to assessing the results of a qual- ity-improvement scheme implemented in the operating room. The quality-improvement protocol involved analyzing a set of parameters concerning the operating team?s behavior and environ- mental conditions that could be attributed to the operating team itself. A program of training and sanitary education was carried to rectify any improper behavior of the operating staff. Two hundred and six hip-joint replacement operations (primary hip hemiarthroplasty - ICD9-CM 81.51) all conducted in the same operating room were studied: 103 patients, i.e. operations performed before the quality-improvement scheme and 103 patients, i.e. operations performed after the quality improvement scheme; all were comparable in terms of type of surgery and severity. The scheme resulted in an improvement in both behavioral and environ- mental parameters and an 80% reduction in the level of microbial air contamination (p inf. 0.001). Patient outcomes improved in terms of average postoperative hospitalization time, the occurrence and duration of fever (>37.5°C) and microbiological contamination of surgical wounds. From an economic point of view, facility efficiency increased by 28.57%, average hospitalization time decreased (p inf. 0.001) and a theoretical increase of ? 1,441,373.58 a year in revenues was achieved.