The integrated Operating Room, for a more efficient patient care environment

By Peter Kyriakos, Head of Marketing, Sony Professional Solutions MEA


When it comes to diagnosis, surgery, or post-operative care, medical technologies have vastly progressed in the last few decades as a result of medical research pushing the margins of medicine and its practices, and consequently its tools. The medical technology industry has also shifted with the arrival of computerization, and witnessed furthermore a recent inflow of innovations particularly from the consumer electronic industry, benefitting medical efficiency and enhancing patient care outcomes.


A lot of the technology expertise and knowledge applied in other specialized B2C and B2B markets have in fact been transferred to the medical sector. An example of this is Sony’s broadcast HD, 3D, OLED and 4K technologies, which have been applied to medical monitors and remote cameras across all clinical areas that could benefit from the effective use of A/V technology, such as general surgery, radiology, endoscopy, ophthalmology, neurology, urology. With 4K resolution allowing to see four times the quality of Full HD definition (four times the amount of pixels in Full HD), it means clinicians can get a better view of the human anatomy and blood vessels, with a greater level of detail and clarity.


When conducting an endoscopic surgery or a minimally invasive microsurgical procedure, on the eyes or the brain, using 4K cameras, monitors and recorders, the surgeon is able to view and review more clinically relevant information, and therefore is more able to make informed decisions. For instance, in a mohs micrographic surgery (procedure used to treat skin cancers often on the head and neck), the surgeon needs to extract a tissue layer, where the cancerous cells are. 4K resolution allows him or her to see through the magnifying zoom the details between the epidermis and the dermis, and the dermis and the subcutaneous fat, and thus allow him to map out the location accurately to remove the tumor and spare normal skin tissue as much as possible.


However, it’s not just about the camera, monitors and recorder working alone in the Operating Room, but about the entire medical workflow and how it is interconnected. It’s about having an integrated Operating Room, where clinicians can capture, share, and view images (recorded during the surgery) in a seamless and efficient way. Healthcare providers are in fact increasingly looking for turnkey end-to-end solutions, with compatibility between visualization technology and other imaging devices.


Some hospitals and clinical facilities have integrated Operating Rooms with robotic and pan-tilt-zoom cameras, which serve for training and simulation purposes, and most importantly are placed high above the patient, so they are out of the surgeon’s way. This way, surgeons may be able to conduct surgeries seamlessly, without viewing limitations (without hands and heads in the camera frame), while the rest of the staff in the Operating Room can perfectly follow the procedure on the high resolution monitor, away from the surgeon’s hands.


The workflow goes far beyond the Operating Room: large screen displays, business projectors and video conferencing systems are used in hospital conference rooms and lecture halls, so all staff can view live surgical content, and access an online video on-demand platform whenever they want. IP “live” technologies, such as Sony’s NUCLeUS, which is a Video-over-IP platform, deliver full IP communication. This technology converts and transmits, via the hospital network, the images recorded from the Operating Room, from endoscopes, boom arm cameras and surgical microscopes, in near-real time to any monitor, whether it is in a consulting room or even a classroom in a healthcare campus. Being able to show almost live surgical content to medical school students means that for the first time, they are able to observe and learn in such great detail and clarity, in such a seamless way.


It is becoming clearer that for seamless and improved efficiency in medical operations, even outside the Operating Room, healthcare providers will have to look at smart and flexible workflow solutions, which integrate the facilities within their institutions. For instance, HD monitors and remote cameras can allow caregivers to monitor patients remotely, centralizing patient monitoring from the nurses' station, or allow doctors to confer with other specialists on complicated cases, regardless of where they are located. These technologies can help a healthcare organization, whether in the Operating Room, the classroom, the staff conference room, or everywhere in between, to improve medical or administrative workflow.


The integration of the theater equipment in the Operating Room is key to facilitating minimally invasive surgeries or any advanced procedure, requiring the best imaging technology with the most efficient streamlined workflows. The future of medical technologies for the Operating Room and the wider workflow will lie in continuing to find better solutions that help advance surgery precision, increasingly support the decision-making process of a surgeon, as well as help prevent medical errors.






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