We often marvel at the impact increasingly sophisticated technology has had on medical procedures, pushing the boundaries and turning the improbable into possible. And for each technological innovation, procedural advances accompany it as physicians across the world develop new techniques to better deploy technology. It is a true symbiotic relationship where technology and procedural sophistication advance in virtual lockstep — a forward movement by one demanding a reciprocal and equal movement by the other.
We often marvel at the impact increasingly sophisticated technology has had on medical procedures, pushing the boundaries and turning the improbable into possible. And for each technological innovation, procedural advances accompany it as physicians across the world develop new techniques to better deploy technology. It is a true symbiotic relationship where technology and procedural sophistication advance in virtual lockstep – a forward movement by one demanding a reciprocal and equal movement by the other.
To keep pace with the specialized demands of today’s sophisticated procedures, the procedure room must adapt concurrently to technological innovations, becoming more efficient and more ergonomically safe for staff and patients alike. Perhaps the biggest evolution in today’s surgical suites and intervention rooms is the steady migration toward systems integration.
In a nutshell, systems integration takes all the various “systems” of an enterprise and integrates them into one cohesive unit. It creates a seamless flow of equipment, data and video to enable real-time viewing, connectivity and collaboration.
The backbone of any integration effort is an information management system that allows for the capture, sharing and retrieval of patient and procedural data from anywhere in the organization, whether it be accessing lab results from the surgical amphitheater or retrieving x-rays in the physician’s office. The ultimate goal of integration is to improve workflow and the clinical documentation within the operating and intervention rooms.
A Multifaceted Approach
True systems integration is multifaceted while taking into account the ergonomic design, workflow and technology optimization of the surgical suite. Usually a facility will opt for the services of a systems integrator to help them design, install and control the quality of the integration process for their suites. This means designing rooms with ceiling-mounted booms to hold imaging equipment and monitors off the floor, thus allowing more efficient post-procedure cleanup and ergonomic positioning of monitors during the procedure; all integrated equipment (scopes, imaging platforms, monitors, video and accessories) works together; and a cohesive information management system for patient and procedural data, images and audio can be captured, stored and retrieved from both inside and outside the sterile field.
The nerve center of a fully integrated OR is its centralized control panel. With audio, video, data and images all controlled via a touch screen, medical professionals have the power to connect, communicate and collaborate with others outside the procedure room. Surgeons and nurses can also control surgical and room lighting, in-room observation cameras and all information and imaging systems without ever leaving the sterile field.
Efficient, Ergonomic Design
Since an integrated procedure room is controlled through a centralized touch screen, it creates a more efficient, ergonomic workspace and may help reduce nurse and physician fatigue. Nurses no longer have to move about the room throughout the procedure to perform needed tasks. And with boom-mounted monitors, surgeons can move or tilt the displays to their liking, allowing for easier, more convenient viewing without the strain of viewing cart-mounted monitors often placed four or five feet away. The booms also ensure setup and cleanup are more efficient, allowing imaging equipment to easily swing into position while keeping the procedure room floor free of carts and cables.
To further enhance efficiency, some integrated systems, such as the Olympus Endoalpha, provide “preset” capabilities, so that monitors, lighting and major medical devices can be custom-tailored to surgeon preferences and made available at the press of a button.
Enhanced Communication and Collaboration
A key benefit of any integrated operating or intervention room is the ability to distribute clinical images within the room, between rooms, throughout the facility and beyond. Custom-placed displays ensure all team members have the perfect view of live images. Video networks can be created and enabled for sharing, collaboration and education with ease from just about anywhere (procedure rooms, lecture halls, offices, even campuses worldwide). Integration allows innumerable possibilities, whether it monitors the progress of an intervention to reduce wait times and expedite room turnover, offers supervision remotely without setting foot in the OR, or even provides participation in live procedures via video conference.
Accessible Storage and Archival Capabilities
The best systems integration plan ensures that patient and procedural information (data, video, audio) can be efficiently captured, stored and easily accessed for reference or analysis. Additionally, some systems allow still images to be captured and linked as DICOM images to electronic patient data within a PACS System, creating reliable records for review of patient data and an archive for teaching and collaboration opportunities. Record keeping through electronic storage and print media can also simplify the process and further enhance physician-patient consultations. In summary, with better information coming into and out of the procedure room and easier access to it, today’s surgeons are able to deliver the high levels of quality care for their patients.
Today, systems integration sets the gold standard for procedure room productivity and patient care. Facilities have a variety of integration providers, information management systems and universal imaging platforms and equipment to consider before choosing a solution that best fits their needs. Time spent in advance researching options will ensure a facility optimizes the benefits of integration, with improved procedural efficiency, faster room turnover, and a satisfied team of surgeons and staff able to fully concentrate on what they do well—providing the best care possible for their patients.