Pulse of the OR: Reducing Operating Room Traffic for Patient Safety and Quality Initiatives

A method of measuring traffic flow in an operating room to reduce contamination and ensure air quality.

The Need

Surgical site infections (SSI) can affect all surgical specialties and are a significant cause of long-term morbidity and mortality in the United States. With a rate of 2.8 infections per every 100 operations, these occurrences can lengthen hospital stays, double readmission rates, and can cost between $20,000-100,000 per patient. New reimbursement guidelines are being released that seek to tie reimbursement to readmission and to hold hospitals accountable for SSIs. In addition, there is a renewed focus on using modern technology to quantify behavior and improve patient safety and quality metrics.

In a study on central line associated infections, there was a 70% reduction in infection occurrences with adherence to recommended best-practices of care (CDC MMWR 3/2011). In order to best assess and determine the best practices of care, hospitals and surgical centers need to be able to monitor operating rooms to quantify the causes of infection. Recent studies have indicated that air quality and operating room traffic are two readily identifiable and correctable issues. Methods to quantitate operating traffic are needed to enable quality procedures to be developed and utilized.

The Technology

Dr. Carmen Quatman and Dr. Ajit Chaudhari have worked with their colleagues to develop a simple method of quantifying and monitoring operating room traffic. Their invention combines sensor devices with specialized software to serve as a data collection, analysis and feedback tool on how often personal enter and leave the operating room during a surgery. This information can be collated with infection rates and used as an educational tool to reduce potential contaminates and improve best-practices for surgical rooms and personal.

Commercial Applications

  • Hospitals
    • Human
    • Veterinary
  • Surgical Centers
  • Physician clinics with operating rooms


  • Quick system to place
  • Easy read out showing real-time events
  • Data collected into databases for individual site analysis

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