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Strong Start for Santagati Center As Staff Fine-Tune Operations


The first procedure performed in the Santagati Center — a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy by surgeon Victor Villareal, MD — took place on May 1, and since that date, business has been brisk in the new surgical facility.
     “Right out of the gates, utilization of the operating rooms has exceeded our goals and expectations,” says David Spofford, RN, senior director of surgical services and outpatient procedures. “The new building was a long time coming, and surgeons and staff were eager to get in and take advantage of the new technology and additional space.”
     Featuring seven high-tech operating rooms — including the region’s only hybrid operating suite, which enables surgeons to seamlessly transition from minimally invasive to open procedures — enhanced video and imaging capabilities, and state-of-the-art air handling, the Santagati Center represents a major leap forward from Lawrence General’s previous surgical suite.
     “When the building first opened, there was a lot of ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ about the space itself because most of the physical challenges associated with our old ORs just disappeared,” explains Dave. But, the new building also necessitated significant changes to longstanding workflows and processes throughout Surgical Services — changes that staff have been refining for the past four months, while also addressing physician concerns along the way.
     One of the biggest changes associated with the new building is in how surgical instruments and supplies are stored, managed, and assembled for procedures. In the old space, Sterile Processing was located in a separate building and surgical instruments and supplies were stored in the OR suite itself. In the Santagati Center, all surgical instruments and supplies are now stored on the floor directly below the surgical suites and Materials Management has assumed responsibility for monitoring and maintaining inventory, as well as assembling case carts for procedures.
     To assist in refining this new process, two employee-driven task forces have been established to focus on these areas. “We knew going in that this would be one of the most challenging aspects of the project and planned accordingly,” says Dave. “We are committed to creating reliable systems and being responsive when people have concerns.”
     Meanwhile, just outside the Santagati Center on Lamprey 3, construction of a new Pre-Admission Testing Unit nears completion. Designed to enhance patient flow and comfort, this area features a large family waiting area, three registration bays, two physician consult rooms, administrative offices for the surgical schedulers and leadership team, and a technology-rich conference room. This project marks the final phase of the Surgical Services renovation and expansion effort. 
     “There has been a lot of change in Surgical Services over the past few years and we’re looking forward to having the construction piece completed this October,” says Dave. “The end result will truly transform the patient, family, and staff experience at Lawrence General.”

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