Go with the flow
Opened in February, Pennsylvania Medicine‘s 100,000 square feet Intervention Support Center Integrating its clean aseptic services to off-campus locations-this move helps the organization adjust the scale of operations and improve efficiency and employee safety.But before they achieve these goals, the project team, including Stanteck (Philadelphia and Chicago) A new central aseptic facility must be designed to support the new method of handling, cleaning and storing operating room case carts in multiple locations.
In the on-site environment, contaminated instruments are sent directly from the operating room to the central aseptic service center for cleaning. For new off-site facilities, the project team must figure out how to handle and dispose of instruments from multiple facilities. For example, instead of receiving one trolley at a time, the box trolleys are bundled into groups of 20. “As a result, the whole process started to undergo some changes,” Huff said. “A key requirement of Pennsylvania Medicine is that everything must be broken down and cleaned up when it arrives, so that we don’t let things pile up.”
Scott Huff, head of Stantec (Philadelphia), said that unlike other medical projects, the team can view past case studies for ideas or lessons learned. Here, there are no peer facilities to help guide the Penn Medicine project. “This is the largest of its kind, so we have nowhere to go and make it clear what is a good starting point,” he said.
In order to start managing this new process, the project team observed every step of the process, including dismantling the trolley, cleaning all equipment, storing, cleaning, disinfecting and rebuilding the trolley. “We have to extrapolate it into time movement studies and test it as the facility design continues to evolve to make sure we don’t encounter any bottlenecks,” he said.
Another subtle difference in the process is the addition of an air lock between the loading dock and the inside of the facility. Although designed to ensure air pressure and temperature requirements and a dust-free environment, their presence adds an extra step to moving the cart at all different stages. “We realized during these simulations that the initial design was not suitable for the setting up of cases and the way of waiting for trucks to bring them back to the hospital campus in stages,” he said.
The original design had a large lobby that could accommodate all trolleys, but as employees entered and exited the airlock, the efficiency would be very low. The design was changed to create two different front halls on the shipping side so that at any given time, one of the front halls can be opened to hold carts that will go out in a few hours, while the other is filled with finished carts It can be opened to the loading dock for transportation. He added: “The simple act of turning one front hall into two front halls really improved the mobility of the trolley when it was completed and ready for shipment.”