Background: Operating room (OR) human traffic has been implicated as a cause of surgical site infection. We first observed the normal human traffic pattern in our Pediatric Orthopedic ORs, and then examined the effect of surveillance on that traffic pattern.
Methods: This study consisted of 2 phases: phase I sought to observe the OR traffic pattern (number of door swings, maximum and minimum number of OR personnel, number of OR personnel at 30-minute intervals, or changes in nursing, anesthesia, or surgeon staff) during surgical cases without OR personnel being notified, and for phase II, the same traffic pattern was monitored with their knowledge.
Results: Two thousand four hundred forty-two minutes of surgical time were observed in phase I, and 1908 minutes were observed in phase II. There was no difference (P=0.06) in the time between door swings between phase I (1.39 min) and phase II (1.70 min), no difference (P=1.000) in the maximum number of people in the OR between phase I (11.5 people, range: 7-15 people) and phase II (11.5 people, range: 8-20 people), and no difference (P=1.000) in the minimum number of people in the OR between phase I (4.67 people, range: 4-6 people) and phase II (4.71 people, range: 3-6 people). There was a difference in the time between door swings (P=0.03) and maximum number of people in the OR (P=0.005) based on the length of the surgery (less or more than 120 min). There was no difference in the time between door swings (P=0.11), but there was a difference in the maximum number of people in the OR (P=0.002) based on type of surgery (spine vs. others).
Conclusions: There was no role of surveillance of human traffic in the OR. To achieve any change in the OR traffic pattern, monitoring alone may not be sufficient; other novel techniques or incentives may need to be considered.