Foot Traffic in Operating Rooms May Pose Patient Safety Risks

Researchers at Johns Hopkins recently conducted a study of traffic in and out of operating rooms as part of its patient safety initiatives.  Other researchers have also studied the frequency of OR doors opening and closing and the potential impact on the ability of positive air pressure systems to keep potentially “contaminated air” out of operating rooms.  In addition to concerns for potential contamination from airflow, excessive foot traffic may pose a risk for distraction of the OR staff.  To read more about the study in an article from Johns Hopkins, click here.

At MLMIC, we believe promoting a culture of safety is an integral part of healthcare, and lessening the potential for contamination and distraction in operating rooms benefits patients and providers alike.


Posted in Hospitals, Physicians

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2 thoughts on “Foot Traffic in Operating Rooms May Pose Patient Safety Risks

  1. James Armstrong MD says:

    One of the CMS requirements for directing a CRNA or an anesthesia resident is to monitor the course of the anesthetic at frequent intervals. I interpret this to mean that the anesthesiologist should physically enter the operating room in order to review the condition of the patient and discuss it with the resident or CRNA. Talking on the phone is not an acceptable alternative, but merely a supplemental means of communication. I would not want to discourage personal monitoring by the attending anesthesiologist based on this single study, as supervision is also a very important patient safety issue.

    1. Dr. Armstrong —
      Thank you both for reading the MLMIC blog and offering such an insightful point regarding staff supervision and patient safety. We agree that a supervising anesthesiologist should enter the operating room as needed to review the condition of the patient and discuss care with the resident or CRNA. We believe this would be one of the “necessary and unavoidable” door openings referred to by Dr. Belkoff, the senior author of the underlying study referenced in our post. Thank you again for sharing this important point with our insureds.

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