...we realised a networked approach was much more powerful. Everything’s so much cleaner to have data flowing back to a server and integrated with your electronic patient records.
Dr Iain Hennessey,
Clinical Director of Innovation at Alder Hey
Every modern Operating Room is crammed with technology to help surgeons, anaesthetists and support staff perform their tasks with optimum efficiency. But this additional complexity is not without its challenges. Multiple modalities – including endoscopic, laparoscopic, X-ray and more – mean more video sources and more screens. And every time an extra piece of equipment is introduced, it presents an extra infection risk and creates a less ergonomic environment.
There was an obvious opportunity to take the trend towards ‘integrated’ Operating Rooms to the next level. The team wrote an ambitious brief to commission full theatre integration at Alder Hey. Engaging with Sony Healthcare, the hospital resolved to create a powerful new IP-based network based solution that would streamline the sharing, storage and management of video data captured in surgery.
Working closely with Alder Hey’s IT department and other selected technology partners, Sony has proposed and implemented a hospital-wide IP networking solution, allowing digital data from any source to be routed instantly to any destination. “This isn’t about video cables any more”, notes Rolf Meßmer, Strategic Marketing Manager AV/IT Healthcare Solutions at Sony Europe. “Every increase in bandwidth for clinical and diagnostic information ramps up data requirements, while introducing different standards, formats and codecs. Today it’s all about moving data around the network over IP.”
IP encoder boxes in each of thirteen integrated Operating Rooms can be attached to any imaging device – including video feeds from visible light and other modalities like interventional radiology. Live video signals from an endoscope, room camera or other source can be displayed on LMD-2760MD 27” LCD medical monitors and wall-mounted BRAVIA Professional Display that feature in each OR. Equally, video can be patched instantly to monitor screens in another OR, consulting room or doctor’s office. Routing of signals across the hospital campus network is handled by NUCLeUS, the smart video-over-IP platform that’s driven by surgeons in each theatre via an intuitive touchscreen interface.
Alder Hey’s networked screens play a significant role in optimising workflow in the OR. Being able to move the ceiling-mounted screens precisely into position where the surgeon is working can offer a significant boost in task performance.
Letting everyone in theatre see images from an endoscopic camera or operating light mounted camera also improves team awareness about what’s happening. This can reduce the danger from risks like accidental bleeding that may be missed when surgeons are 100% focused on the task in hand.
In addition, a networked approach gives surgeons the ability to reach out from the OR in the middle of an operation – where the focus is 100% on the patient – to draw on external opinions. Being able to see surgery on a screen elsewhere in the hospital allows the surgeon to interact with other colleagues who have specific knowledge about a rare procedure.
“There have been cameras in ORs for a while”, states Rolf Meßmer. “But today a networked approach is more powerful and flexible.”