Electrical safety in an operating room is the sum of many factors

13.8.2021

The operating room environment is challenging. Technological development, various electronic equipment and complex solutions require the staff’s diverse skills and knowledge. The work is intensive and intensely scheduled; interruptions, dangerous situations and downtime must be avoided in every possible way. There is no time for repairing, learning or testing during the operation.

Although technology has advanced tremendously and electronic medical devices meet all required standards, electrical problems are common in the operating room environment. An electrical hazard can lead to injuries and even fatalities. Therefore, there must be the best possible early warning system. In addition to that, the staff needs to know how to use the equipment correctly and what to do if the electronic device breaks down. This is essential for improving patient safety.
Proper investment in training is beneficial in the usability and efficiency of the new technology equipment. When the staff understands the operation of the equipment at a sufficient level, the best possible result is obtained.

PPO-Elektroniikka has developed electrical safety since 1982

As early as the 1970s, international studies highlighted the poor level of electrical safety in the operating room. Since then, we have been developing IT systems cooperating with the hospital technical staff. We invented the first-generation insulation level monitoring system in Finland in 1981. The system became mandatory in Finland in 1983 and in Europe in 2015. Our newest, fifth-generation equipment with unique features meets all the regulatory acts and technical standards internationally.

We started exporting in 2019 when the fifth-generation equipment was completed. Since then, we have been in constant contact with our international distributors, from whom we have received much feedback. At the same time, we have developed features according to the practices and standards of different countries. We have developed a support concept suitable for the Covid19 era, providing support through electronic manuals, videos and e-meetings. The idea works and succeeds well as all our distributors are professionals in our field.

A nurse in an OR

Checklist for hospital management – How to ensure the electrical safety of the operating room:

• A modern IT system with an insulation monitoring system. (Make sure the solution has sufficient features to locate the fault quickly.)

• A reliable and cooperative supplier who provides training and support

• Training and guidance of technical staff in cooperation with the supplier

• Training, motivating and encouraging operating room staff to understand the meaning and principles of the
protective system. The operating room’s healthcare staff do not need in-depth knowledge of IT systems
technology, but they should understand the basics and how to act in emergencies.

• Clear instructions to the health care staff

• Appointment of responsible staff

• Support available

Although technology, practices, and safety measures have advanced, there is still a long way to go to achieve an adequate level of electrical safety in operating rooms worldwide.

National legislation may not require IT-system and insulation-level monitoring in G2 facilities, but it is seriously worth considering. In addition to increasing safety, it also reduces costs. It is noteworthy that the proactive monitoring system eases technical work and ensures that operations are not interrupted. When problems are detected early, hazardous situations during operations can be prevented. This ensures that the operating room and equipment are efficiently deployed, and unnecessary downtime can be avoided.

Read our article Training operating rooms staff in electrical safety in the IFHE Digest 2022 publication (pages 68-70).

More detailed information: Tel. +358 9 566 0920 / ppo@ppo-elektroniikka.fi

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