It’s a big statement, but one Mary Leedom is comfortable backing up:
“This would rival almost any OR in the country,” she said, giving one of the first tours of the new operating rooms at Avera McKennan.
“We’re very fortunate to have it here. We’ve done a number of things that are unique that no one in South Dakota has.”
General contractor Journey Group has finished construction on 11 of 18 new operating rooms in an area that used to be the intensive care unit. A new version of the ICU opened in the hospital earlier this year. Both projects are part of $40 million in construction on the main campus.
The new ORs include technology and equipment not previously seen in South Dakota, including some that is just coming onto the market.
Here are four things to know about the operating rooms:
New technology will keep them extremely clean.
The new ORs include “clean suite technology” that “has everything to do with air flow in the room,” Leedom said. “It’s an air flow that brings the clean air over the patient and doesn’t allow any contaminants in.”
The rooms also use Vital Vio, “which is basically LED light disinfection,” Leedom said. “It’s built into the lights in the ceiling where it will continually clean pathogens. It’s bright white light, so it does it continually, and it’s not harmful. At night, we’ll put it on higher disinfection mode, and it turns purple.”
State-of-the-art photography will add clarity.
The cameras and monitors built into the new ORs are 4K and high definition, bringing what Leedom describes as incredible clarity.
“The pictures are remarkable,” she said. “It is so good … it’s better than open surgery because it brings it 50 percent closer to the human eye, and that will really help the surgeons.”
The operating rooms also have two 32-inch monitors and a 65-inch monitor, and are connected so that videoconferencing can occur.
“So if a surgeon is seeing something and needs a partner to look, we can conference that in, and we can have students watching from afar with permission,” Leedom said. “And everything is fully integrated with the EMR (electronic medical record), so pictures and video drop into the EMR.”
They will use state-of-the-art equipment.
The new ORs include an intraoperative CT scanner, which allows computed topography images to be taken live while the patient is on the table “to validate positioning and making sure everything is where it should be,” Leedom said. “It really helps improve efficiencies, and it’s crystal-clear imaging.”
Avera also has three da Vinci surgical robots in the space, along with a robot for neurological procedures that is new to the market.
They will be busy.
The operating rooms within the main hospital see about 8,000 cases per year.
“The main OR is where we do all the major cases – all the trauma, transplants, the big stuff,” Leedom said. “We have been at capacity for quite a few years now, so that’s really what spurred the building, and we’re excited to have a little extra room to move. (For the staff), it’s game-changing. They are just thrilled with the technology we’ll be able to have.”
Check-in for surgery also was moved to the second floor, right outside the new operating rooms.
The first patients are scheduled to be seen Aug. 26 and access will be limited then because of the sterile environment. Employees visited the space at an open house today, and a Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Next, Avera will finish the remaining operating rooms and then finish additional space for services including pre- and post-operative space.
All improvements are scheduled to be done by this time next year.