Greening the OR Via VR
Recently, I was privileged enough to be given a sneak preview of one of Practice Greenhealth's latest projects--a Virtual OR tour, created as part of the group's Greening the OR initiative. Practice Greenhealth has created an online, experiential “virtual tour” of the ideal green operating room, allowing users to investigate features at their leisure, wherever and whenever it is most convenient for them. Participants can learn about the individual sustainable interventions and technologies, as well as engage in online collaboration, webinars, and training, all while inside the world of the Virtual Green OR.
Since the launch of the Greening the OR Initiative in April 2010, more than 160 hospitals have signed on as participants. Through data analysis, evaluations of the latest research, a compilation of best practices, and feedback from its membership, Practice Greenhealth has assembled a range of successful interventions for greener, more efficient operating rooms. These include:
- Reduction and segregation of regulated medical waste
- Reusable canister fluid management systems
- Single-use device reprocessing
- OR kit reformulation
- Reusable surgical gowns and basins
- Energy-efficient LED lighting HVAC Setback Systems
- Medical plastics recycling
- Reusable hard cases for surgical instruments
All of these features--and many more--are on display in the Virtual OR, which can be toured from the comfort of one's desk or laptop. Each of the more than 50 features is clickable to lead to a pop-up box with more information; simply glide your mouse around the room and click where the cursor indicates, while your avatar (customizable, even!) peers into every nook and cranny of the room. To get an idea, check out this video that replicates the Virtual OR experience.
The added advantage, of course, is that one can see how these features are implemented in an actual OR setup--something you wouldn't get just by reading a checklist. And of course, the fact that Practice Greenhealth assembled a Virtual OR rather than a full-size mockup speaks to the whole idea of greening the healthcare community, as well, as there were no natural resources devoted to constructing anything. Cyberspace is, apparently, very environmentally friendly.
Is such a "virtual tour" the wave of the future? We'll have to wait and see, but it certainly fits the bill here.