The genesis and evolution of Systems Integration in the OR

The genesis and evolution of Systems Integration in the OR

June 02, 2020
Health IT Operating Room
Devon Bream
By Devon Bream

With millions of inpatient surgeries performed annually across the nation, today’s busy surgeons demand a holistic, robust workflow solution that provides them with the comprehensive diagnostic imaging and data they need to perform operations successfully.

However, for many years, there was no easy answer to this need in the operating room.

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Historically, surgeons were forced to view multiple monitors to see images captured from minimally invasive devices, X-ray machines, and ultrasound equipment, for example. Surgeons often had to look at as many as five different pieces of equipment—all while trying to remove an organ or save a life. Because the technologies were not built to work together, surgeons spent a good deal of time swiveling their heads, changing their vantage point, making it very challenging to operate effectively.

Neck strain was a problem, but the least of it. After all, like actors and athletes, a surgeon’s job requires the highest degree of concentration—and there’s a whole lot more at stake than a failed performance or a lost game. There is a vulnerable patient on the table. Yet this disorganized way of viewing images and data in the OR impeded a surgeon’s ability to focus—a critical quality in ensuring positive patient outcomes.

Ultimately, surgeons and OR managers turned to their minimally invasive device manufacturers to help address this quandary. Eventually, a solution was born that could take all of the imaging that was generated in the OR—from rigid endoscopes, flexible endoscopes, X-rays, ultrasounds, and more—and would route them to monitors so that the surgeon had a holistic view of everything needed to properly perform procedures and care for patients.

Here’s how it worked. The image and video routing was accomplished the same way—using the same cabling—as your home television system or computer desktop. The S-video cables, DVI cables, and copper and HDMI cables behind your TV were (and in most cases, still are) the same cables used to route images from a surgeon’s surgical scope to the monitor in the OR.

That process is the genesis of what is now known as Systems Integration— a solution initially driven by surgeons, OR managers, and surgical device manufacturers. Now, as the field has evolved, there is a growing role for the IT team when it comes to helping surgeons and OR managers better understand and choose the optimal Systems Integration solution for their OR.

Advancing technologies drive a shift to IT

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