Few topics currently inspire more concerted strategic thinking in healthcare facilities than OR efficiency. Tightening budgets require the optimization of the surgical space, but the quality of care obviously can’t be compromised.

One of the clearest ways to achieve the goal of ideal OR efficiency is to seek out tools that make all processes smooth and simple for healthcare personnel.

“It’s about making it easy,” notes Michele Curtis, associate marketing director for surgical products at Halyard Health. “It's allowing staff to complete the job at hand so they don’t have to worry about whether they're being protected or the patient’s being protected. It lets them focus on the case.”

Halyard helps streamline processes for OR staff with apparel that provides the right protection for different cases, with a minimum of fuss in determining which gown is needed.

This simple solution really began almost five years ago, with the launch of the AERO BLUE* performance gowns. Rated for AAMI Level 3 protection, the AERO BLUE gowns are suited for a wide range of moderate fluid cases. The gown was joined in 2016 by the AERO CHROME* breathable performance gown, designed for high fluid cases and offer AAMI Level 4 protection. The combination allows hospitals to reduce the number of different kinds of gowns they have on hand by over 40 percent while keeping the surgical team appropriately protected.

(Image credit: Halyard Health)

The color-coding of the two-gown system provides a quick, almost instinctive selection process for personnel suiting up for a procedure.

“It has a visual indicator, because the color of the AAMI Level 3 gown is blue and the AAMI Level 4 gown is gray or chrome,” Curtis says. “Instantly, one is able to discern the protection level  If they’re questioning or in doubt about whether or not they’re in the highest level of protection, the AERO CHROME confirms this through its appearance alone.”

Care was also taken to make certain the added protection of the AERO CHROME didn’t compromise comfort for the wearer, especially since the gown is often used for lengthy procedures. While still offering full AAMI Level 4 protection in the critical zones, the gown has a white knitted, V-neck collar, and highly breathable back.

“Temperature regulation and humidity regulation in the OR is of high importance for the Joint Commission,” Curtis explains. “If we can design a gown that is high performance based on the procedure being performed and also offer the needed comfort level, it’s a win-win for everyone involved, including patients, healthcare workers, and other staff.”

In addition to the AERO series gowns, Halyard provides other protective wearables. Healthcare workers can get a full array of gowns, gloves, and masks from a single supplier.

Further aiding supply chain efficiencies, Halyard’s ownership of their production facilities in North America provides for more dependable control of product continuity and the ability to quickly restock essential items for customers when needed.

The standardization and efficiency provided are helpful, but the most critical component for healthcare facilities remains the certainty that the apparel precisely aligns with the protective needs of the job at hand.

“Not all surgical gowns are created equally,” says Curtis. “You don’t ever want to be in doubt.”