Assigning green hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic assure continuous and safe resumption of surgical services

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2022 Jan:73:103207. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2021.103207. Epub 2021 Dec 21.


Background: Coronavirus 19 pandemic impacted the health system with more pressure on the critical areas, leading to direct manpower working in the Operating Room to help treat this new problem by postponing elective surgical cases and affecting some urgent ones. However, elective surgical services start to recover by establishing one or more hospitals that deal with COVID-19 free patients (green hospital) in each area with a dedicated one to treat COVID19 cases. Our research shows if this model's application assures safe and continued recovery of surgical services to reach the level before the pandemic. This study aimed to explore if assigning a green hospital to assure safe and continuous resumption of surgical services during a pandemic.

Methods: This study used a multicenter, national, quasi-experimental, post-test-only control group design. All hospitals assigned at least one hospital as a green hospital (COVID-19 free hospital) in the northern areas of Saudi Arabia were included in the study. We also included Riyadh's large tertiary care hospital as a control none green hospital. We reported the number of surgical backlog in each city, the number of surgical cases performed, the percentage of OR utilization in each city and the percentage of COVID-19 cases to the number of ICU bed cases in each city.

Results: This study included green hospitals in five cities in the northern area of Saudi Arabia. Besides, we included one none large green hospital in Riyadh city as a control group. The median of weekly procedures in green hospitals was 101 (99, 109.5) in Alqurayat, 233 (194, 237) in Tabuk, 180 (162, 199) in Haill, 108 (90, 120) in Al Jawf and 257 (155, 313) in Northern Borders. The median of weekly procedures in the control hospital was 245 (215, 259). Green hospitals contributed to reducing the surgical backlog by a median percentage of 74% (38, 108) in Alqurayat, 25% (21, 26) in Tabuk, 8% (7, 9) in Haill, 81% (54, 91) in Al Jawf and 78% (72, 88) in Northern Borders. While in the control hospital was 8% (8, 9).

Conclusion: Implementing elective surgeries in green hospitals contributes to a continuous resumption of surgical services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 free; Elective surgery; Green hospital; SARS-CoV-2; Surgical backlog.