We've recently been having a great discussion over on our LinkedIn network, The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Connection (not a member? Click here to sign up!) about the future of the Hybrid OR, a concept that has been around for some time now but has recently started trending up in a big way. I started the discussion with the following questions:

The Hybrid OR has been all the rage of late, but is it simply the latest trend, or is the idea here to stay? How widespread has the hybrid OR become? Do you see this becoming a new industry standard, or will it only be for the facilities with the space/dollars to make it happen? How do you see the Hybrid OR trend shaking out? I would love to hear any thoughts out there. Thanks.

It's fair to say that everyone agrees that the Hybrid OR concept is here to stay, and that they in general lead to better outcomes for patients. The opinions from there seem to differ slightly, however, especially as it comes to three main topics that work hand-in-hand to a degree: cost, space, and utilization.

As far as cost goes, there is definitely a premimum upfront expense to adding all of this extra imaging equipment to the standard OR (as well as the support for it), but if the facility is buying the imaging equipment anyway, why not put it in the OR where it can be utilized to make for better clinical outcomes? The answer to that question lies in the space consideration, as the average Hybrid OR is several hundred square feet larger than the average standard OR, and hence some facilities simply wouldn't be able to accomodate a Hybrid room–at least not without significant renovations (which, of course, takes you back to the cost issue…)

And if it takes the space of (roughly) two standard ORs to create one Hybrid OR, is a facility going to utilize the Hybrid room often enough to jusitfy all that extra space? And will the doctors from the different disciplines who might use a Hybrid OR be able to work together to make sure it is being used to maximum efficiency?

While my questions have definitely clarified some issues, they have also raised some other interesting ones. Where do you see the Hybrid OR trend going? Post your thoughts and join the conversation!