Excel with data and the real reason we should wear surgical masks: Lessons from recent Informa Conference

Ben Lockwood is an engaging presenter and self-avowed technology geek. I was fortunate to hear Ben speak at last month’s Informa Operating Theatre Management Conference in Sydney. It seems Ben’s made good use of technology – MS Excel in particular – in his project work implementing the National Standards at Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia. Ben recommended perioperative managers download the appropriate NSQHS Monitoring Tool from the NSQHS website and develop an audit schedule from this Gap Analysis that is achievable and meaningful. Ben finished by saying that “the data have to help you to improve!” If you’ve not yet heard Ben speak about the Nationals Standards, then you might like to check out his slides from the Informa Conference.

Elsie Truter from Rotorua, New Zealand gave a rather memorable presentation on infection control. Wonderful slides, including one of an ancient Peruvian skull showing signs of surgical trephining as well as evidence of healing – confirming that the patient didn’t die as a result of this rather dramatic surgery. In addition to the wonderful slides, Elsie provided some surprising statistics about new infections as well as developments in health and science. Did you know that the human genome has shown that we are 8% virus? Did you know that during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale dropped the infection rate to 4%, but never accepted germ theory? I was rather startled to learn that in less than an hour a patient’s hospital room will be colonised and reflect the patient’s unique ‘microbiome’. Elsie made the point that patients’ visitors may also be a source of infection in hospital because their behaviour can be risky – she supported this view with a photo she’d taken of some visitors sitting on the gutter next to rubbish bins outside the hospital ED. However, the most memorable slide was the one Elsie used to strongly defend the use of surgical masks – it stops us from picking our nose. Worth a look? You bet!

You can view many other presentations from this recent conference, including an update on ACORN’s activities from ACORN President Ruth Melville, some great insights from Kathy Flanigan on Communication plus a fascinating presentation on the TPOT by Aaron Shergis as well as my presentation on “Delegation and Supervision: Implications for managers”. For those of you keen to read more, be sure to check out the Informa Healthcare blog.