If you work in the Operating room you know the stress of time, personalities, and patient needs. And, you probably are excited and have some concerns about the medical technologies in the pipeline. Like these:
Cameras help surgeons probe and guide their work in sensitive areas. Other surgeons use 3-D X-rays to add depth to the traditional X-rays. At this time, there are problems with the technology. Somehow the 3-D images don’t quite reconcile themselves. But, as the technology improves, they should be able to build in our neurological ability to align the images.
Other trials throw away 3-D glasses in favor of HD 3-D monitors to guide the surgeons. One study reports a 15% increase in surgery speed. Another extension of the 3-D innovation is a new class of technology called “haptics.” Haptics adds kinesthetic and tactile feedback to the 3-D navigation. It allows you to feel the virtual experience. The potential for reduced errors and risks of sepsis is promising.
Until recently, there was no real, workable integration of information technology and clinical technology. X-rays and MRIs were prepared and reviewed separately outside the clinical setting. Now, those “pictures” are captured digitally, transmitted, and displayed for image-guided surgical procedures. It keeps everyone on the same page. And this will become more routine.
Digital images can be shared, mailed, and displayed for video conferencing. They can be broadcast and archived for all sorts of record needs. In real time, the surgeon can request a review by the pathologist of something in real time. The display can integrate the systems information previously reviewed in isolation. For example, a patient’s vital signs can be displayed along with signs and systems directly related to the specific surgery.
This integration of patient information and clinical technology proves to be more efficient and error free. But, there is a real time advantage in the ability to broadcast the procedure and related procedures for educational purposes. It has the potential to replace the old school surgical theater experience. More reason to enlist high speed internet capabilities into the Operating Room.
Electronic Health Records
Software vendors competitively develop products for medical applications. They take the process beyond information collection and storage. The focus is makes the information accessible and more accurate. It connects the private patient with the broader population so it can be searched, analyzed, and shared – within privacy regulations.
A national health record should reduce redundant care and assure continuity of care. It can project the patient’s entire history including medications at one time – providing a dimensional view of the patient. If the inventory of care is linked to the cost of the care, the doctor has another tool to control costs to the patient.
Medical professionals admit that lost and misfiled patient records are a significant cause of medical practice errors. Some 60% of those surveyed reported that they were providing better patient care thanks to EHR or EMR. They cited the advantage of being able to access patient history from any place at any time as well as the reduction of prescription and allergy interactions.
In addition to updating their uniforms to fashionable Koi scrubs, medical personnel have always been at the forefront of technology. Driven by the passion to improve patient care, they demand the best equipment and tools. Anything new is a challenge, but there is the confidence it will improve patient care, and that eases the concern.