Improving old and antiquated ORs meant embracing OR integration for one Florida hospital.
Cassandra Whitney had a significant problem on her hands. Having arrived at Florida-based Memorial Hospital Pembroke in 2007 as its Director of Surgical Services, she immediately
realized her entire department – from pre-admission to the operating
room – was quite out of date. Everything looked old. The functionality
of the equipment was less than ideal. Whitney recognized she had her
work cut out for her.
“I had a mess in the OR in the sense that my OR suites were very old
and antiquated,” she says, recalling her early days at Memorial Pem-
broke, a communiy-based hospital with 301 beds and eight ORs. “As
time goes by, you keep adding more and more equipment to the OR,
more different individual pieces of equipment (it). It got to the point
where it was just so cluttered.”
There were other problems. No one was going to offer Whitney and
Memorial Pembroke the millions of dollars necessary to construct new
ORs outfitted with the latest equipment and cutting-edge technology,
and the facility’s capacity – from an expansion standpoint – was already
“It was at that point that I started to look at other options, and that
meant integration,” she says.
“Integration” means something different to every hospital, because
no two facilities have the same needs, goals, opportunities, and challenges. For Memorial Pembroke, a key facet of its integration effort involved
installing surgical booms into the ceilings of six of the facility’s eight
OR suites. The next step in the project called for key decision-makers
to clearly identify what OR integration technology was necessary to
acquire for Memorial Pembroke to maximize its return on investment.
That meant asking a number of questions about how the integration
equipment’s functionality fit in the hospital.
“Every single piece of that costs additional dollars,” says Whitney.
“At one point I was debating what to cut.”
The process of deciding what technology fit best within the walls
of Memorial Pembroke was by no means easy, but Whitney and others
determined they were best served to never lose sight of what was right
for their hospital. They also began asking themselves tougher questions:
Is the return on investment going to be there? If the project moves
forward, will it bring additional surgeons to Memorial Pembroke to per-
form surgery? Is it really going to benefit the patients in the long run?
“You have to ask yourself, ‘Well, this is where I am today, but where
do I want to be tomorrow as a community-based hospital?’”
The answer to that question eventually became abundantly clear
to Whitney and others. They wanted Memorial Pembroke to increase
the volume of surgical procedures in its OR suites and see a marked
improvement in overall efficiency throughout the surgical department.
To accomplish those goals, the hospital invested in a wealth of commu-
nication technology (interdepartmental, OR-to-OR, OR-to-physician
office, videoconferencing, videotaping, communication with pathology
and radiology,) and more.
“As we reviewed the documentation and what all of it could do, we
thought it was best for our patients and our surgeons to acquire this
technology,” says Joseph Stuczynski, Associate Administrator and Chief
Financial Officer, Memorial Hospital Pembroke. “It just seemed like
this is where medicine was going in the future, and this is where we
needed to be.”
Whitney organized a group of individuals -- the hospital’s chief
strategy office, its chief executive officer, a system architect, a facilities
representative, and others -- to go room by room with the surgical
department staff and determine exactly where equipment needed to go
based on personnel’s needs and wants.
“Because the staff work in the room day in and day out, and they
are the ones that have to navigate around the room when things are in
the way and so forth, I brought the staff together and we had several
meetings,” says Whitney. “We literally went one room at a time deciding
where things need to go.”
For example, initial plans called for all of the booms to be installed
to where the right shoulder of the patient would be in the OR. But once
16 May | 2014 | www.SurgicalProductsMag.com
by Mike Schmidt