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The pit crew of the OR


Just like Formula One racing, surgery and risk prevention are a team sport.

The three Ts of a good win

For race car drivers, it’s called the “pit stop”. For an operating room (OR) team, or surgeons, it’s called the “change over”. These critical moments in time are built, crafted, and choreographed to set its performers up for success.

Race car authorities in the U.S. assert that it’s the pit crew that can determine if a driver wins a race or not. From tyre runner to jack man, it’s their impressive combination of speed, skill, and precision that clinch the win.

The same holds true for the world of surgery and risk prevention. For a surgeon, a safe and successful operation is the result of a talented team, the right tools, and good timing.

Tailor-made for the toughest tracks

Studies show that the c-section rate in Europe stands at more than 25 percent. A number slightly above the WHO-recommended rate of between 10-15 percent.

The procedure, while common, can be high-stress for mother, child, and surgeon.

“During an emergency c-section, mother and baby are in immediate danger,” said HARTMANN Combiset® Brand Manager Cathrin Dettling. “It can also be very emotional for the surgeon and the OR team. Their number one priority is the patient and the child, but the protocol, like preparing the necessary surgical tools adds to the pressure.”

According to Cathrin, varied health system challenges only add to the gravity of the situation.

“I’ve talked to surgeons who lack support in the OR due to limited resources or new colleagues who are not yet fully trained on standard procedure,” said Cathrin. “There may even be a language barrier amongst staff. Budget restraints, compliance to regulations and the lack of resources limit the time left to focus on what is most important: the patient. The OR is the microcosm of what is happening throughout the system and yet, the OR team's highest responsibilty is the recovery of the patient.”

With the clock ticking on patient anaesthesia and emotions running high, time remains the most critical factor in the OR…before, during, and after a procedure.

Claudia Esswein

HARTMANN medical experts found that it takes more than 80 single-use components to perform a c-section that, if not part of a personalised surgical set, need to be picked individually from different storage locations. This can result in an average of 23 minutes of valuable time wasted in the OR. Time that could be used for the next procedure. Time that is counted and becomes weighted criteria for what defines a “successful” surgery. But most importantly, in the case of an emergency, this is the time that can make a difference for the life of mother and baby.

“The surgeons are already under so much extreme pressure,” said Claudia Esswein, director of marketing, CombiSet®. “They don’t want to waste time talking about products. They need optimised solutions”

Team 23: Powered by experts. For experts.

One point nine two seconds (1.92). That was the fastest pit stop time in Formula One racing in 2016. It was completed by Team Williams, repeat Fastest Pit Stop Award Winner at the European Grand Prix in Baku.

"We measure how long the gun man is on the trigger to get the wheel off, how long it takes an old wheel to come off and a new one to get on and then the gun trigger to do it up again. How long the jack takes to drop. There really is nowhere to hide. Much like the driver for the car, every aspect of the pit stop is measured."

These were the words of Williams’ sporting manager in a 2016 media interview.

“Much like any winning pit crew, our duty lies in knowing every moment and each movement,” said Claudia. “Through our consulting service, we work with surgeons on an eye-to-eye level; side-by-side during procedures to understand the discrepancies, how they prepare, what components they need from pre-op to post-op. We work to create a customised OR set that sets them up for a seamless surgery.”

Since the development of HARTMANN’s personalised surgical kits in 1997, the HARTMANN Division of Risk Prevention has helped thousands of surgeons across Europe complete more than six million safe surgeries a year. Today, surgeons across Europe can choose from more 3,500 active components packaged in the order that each item will be used for their unique procedure.

According to internal consulting cases, HARTMANN has identified that healthcare professionals can save an average of 23 minutes per surgical procedure through the use of CombiSet®.

But for HARTMANN, 23 is more than just a number.

“Twenty-three minutes is more than just a cold time reduction and more than just a faceless increase in productivity,” said Claudia. “For us, it is 23 more minutes for the surgeons to check up on a patient, or for them to make their own moments outside of the OR.”