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Apr 26, 2019

Expert Interview – Opragon impressions

Burkhard Schlautmann about his experiences with OR ventilation systems and his impression of Opragon

“Traditional Laminar AirFlow is a technology that is highly standardized and only leaves a small space for new ideas. It is therefore not suitable for innovative rethinking.”

Burkhard Schlautmann has recently joined Avidicare. He has a lot of experience with OR ventilation systems. Due to his past as an OR- and anaesthesia caregiver, Mr. Schlautmann knows exactly the daily working life of OR personnel and the high ventilation system requirements. As a founding member of Hybeta GmbH, he contributed his experiences, his great interest in medical technology and his training as a specialist for hospital hygiene to the company and extended his knowledge with technical content. For many years, Mr. Schlautmann accompanied the installation of many hundreds of German Laminar AirFlow systems (LAF) and he was able to deal extensively with this technology.

 “Through the many years with German LAF technology, I have gained a comprehensive knowledge of the weak points and limits of technology,” he says. This is the reason why he is now a member of Avidicare. “In addition, I had to realize that for many years nothing has changed with the DIN standard 1946-4 and the standard is to blame for the fact that there is hardly any innovation in OR ventilation systems,” he explained further. The traditional industry has a great influence on the DIN standard and significantly determines its changes. A disappointed fact, because LAF technology only allows a small space for new ideas and is therefore not suitable for innovative rethinking. Mr. Schlautmann was able to get to know and experience the innovative and effective TCAF technology (temperature-controlled airflow) for himself and he is so convinced of Opragon that he wants to help Avidicare gain a foothold in Germany.

But what must change? On one hand, improving bureaucracy and politics is needed but not enough to drive a change. “On the other hand, the people who control the development of the DIN norm earn their money on LAF systems,” Schlautmann notes. This is just not right. To be clear, this is particularly evident from the latest adaptation of the standard which, for example only mentions a protected zone of a fixed – and square – size of 3.20 m x 3.20 m.

Although other systems (such as Opragon) do not require a protected zone, this example often serves as a standard because many authorities blindly rely on the DIN norm. For this reason, scientific facts are important to argue for the use of alternative systems such as Opragon. “I would like to help Avidicare and Opragon to have a larger base in Germany,” Schlautmann continued, so that the research can be shared, and reliable results achieved.

As an expert for the established LAF technology, Mr. Schlautmann is familiar with the weak points of these systems. Opragon offers hospitals many benefits compared to ventilation systems with TAF technology. Mr. Schlautmann is most impressed by the fact that the whole operating theatre is ultra-clean and no “classic” protected zone is necessary due to the TCAF technology. Thus, the patient is also better and more effectively protected. As a former OR caregiver, the best possible patient protection is always close to his heart. “This is the main reason why I can honestly recommend the TCAF technique,” says Schlautmann.

Based on his experiences in the operating theatre and expert for LAF systems, he can assess the advantages of Opragon differently: for example, there is a high risk of failure with LAF systems, which can already be identified during installation and can only be remedied by extensive subsequent improvements. “Opragon has about the same price as a ventilation system with LAF technology, but offers more benefits and better patient protection,” explains Schlautmann. As he spents a lot of time in operating theatres, he claims “with certain confidence that he had felt no temperature difference and no draughts” when he was in an OR with the Opragon system. In addition, the Opragon’s TCAF technology provides much more freedom of movement. By eliminating the protected zone, the OR staff can focus on the work on the patient. LAF systems, on the other hand, require constant monitoring of the protected zone, the patient and the instruments.

In conclusion, Mr. Schlautmann tells us that he finally feels that he has arrived at Avidicare. “It’s no longer a matter of installing technology and selling systems, but of focusing on the well-being of patients and the innovative development of patient protection,” he added. The safety of the patient is Avidicare’s top priority and this is fully in harmony with his personal beliefs. “Not only because of my experience, but also because of my time with LAF systems, I believe in the technology of the TCAF and Opragon.”