OTs – The Figurative Backbone of a Hospital

OT equipment, technology, and systems should also be assessed from a patient safety perspective before acquisition and implementation. OT needs as much of a regular upgradation as the treatment technology. - Ms Pranali Aher

When we talk about medical advancements and innovations in technology, the spotlight almost always shines on a new drug development or research, test results or new methods and optimal values for diagnostics. One seldom hears the mention of the hardware tech that gives these modern healing techniques their utility. The OT and other surgical equipment are the true underdogs of this segment.

An OT is one of the most important facilities in a hospital. The technical décor and surgical equipment that come with it are equally important. A missing light, one malfunctioning vent, and the thing can get bad quickly. Yet such an obviously important component of healthcare is often taken for granted. In reality, an OT needs as much of a regular up gradation as the treatment technology.

With new research taking place everyday and awareness as well as expectations increasing, hospitals have major challenges in planning, budgeting, and training for all these new technologies. Up-to-date technology makes operations faster and more efficient. A well-stocked OT dramatically increases productivity and reduces fatigue levels of doctors and other surgical support stay present.

With more and more research taking place, the hospitals have major challenges in planning, budgeting, and training for all these new technologies. Technology makes operations faster and more efficient and dramatically increase productivity and reduces fatigue in the OT. Today, development of surgical care is increasingly dependent on demonstrating safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness. OT and surgical equipment are vital in any hospital setup and should undergo a rigorous evaluation for appropriateness as well as patient safety during selection and acquisition. Even if a single component is used improperly or a device malfunctions, they can contribute to patient harm.

The standardization of equipment and technology is an important strategy in the reduction of human errors and also reduces reliance on memory and helps individuals use devices and technology safely and methodically. Therefore, OT equipment, technology, and systems should also be assessed from a patient safety perspective before acquisition and implementation. OT equipment, technology, and systems should also be assessed from a patient safety perspective before acquisition and implementation. This may involve an assessment procedure, including an evaluation of required user skills, engineering concerns, infection control and sterilization issues and environmental considerations. Furthermore, new technology and equipment should be pilot-tested before being put into use, and its performance should be assessed.

It’s important to note that the technology is changing in India. OTs today look nothing like they used to 50 years, or even 15 years ago. Nano tech and robots have replaced the traditional bulky machines. The main issue is that not many people are aware of these developments and do not realize how far we’ve come.

An operating room equipment range from common tools like operating lights, operating tables, anesthesia equipment to highly specialized gear like navigation equipment, robotic systems, intraoperative neuro-monitoring system, etc. The Operating Room of the Future will be characterized by meticulous preoperative planning, full integration of the operating room and intraoperative diagnostic imaging procedures.

‘OT Integration’ is new buzzword flying around the industry casually. What it’s actually referring to is functionally connecting the Operating Room eco-system. This includes patient information, audio, video, surgical lights and room lights, building automation (HVAC), and medical equipment. An integrated environment can help doctors and nurses easily route A/V sources and effectively control surgical equipment. When integrated, one operator can manipulate all technology from a central console. All controls are on a touch screen, and the single operator can carry out the surgeon’s requests (like adjust lighting, capture images, etc) from this common control station for all equipment. A surgeon may also have a console within reach in the surgical field.

Some systems these days are so advanced they even offer voice recognition and activation so that the surgeon, wearing a wireless headset with a microphone, can control the system directly. The surgeon issues voice commands that are interpreted by an automatic speech recognition system, and control an integrated network of OR devices. With integrated OR, the surgical team can work more efficiently and operating time is reduced. Setup and cleanup are faster and easier because equipment doesn’t have to be connected and disconnected between procedures. Another advantage is improved safety. This technology integration improves the quality of data capture and workflow. The system integrates patient and staff information, as well as equipment and process documentation. It has preoperative, operative, postoperative and case summary data coordinated at one place, which reduces medical errors. This data can further be archived into PACS and data from previous surgeries and radiology images can be viewed even during the procedure for reference.

In the past, all this information remained on unconnected devices. Today, the Internet has made everything so accessible and easy. These have emerging concepts like comprehensive teleconferencing, telemedicine and teaching options through external networking. Teleconference and telemedicine allow surgeons to communicate with colleagues and experts during the procedure in virtually any location around the world, which increases teaching possibilities and procedural safety.

Telesurgery, though not very popular at the moment, is a method by which surgeons operate on patients in one corner of the world using data gloves, high-speed communication links, 3 D imaging and cameras and robots at the patient’s location playing a pivotal role. It is crucial note that these kinds of surgeries if performed remotely will greatly patients who do not access to quality services or live in remote areas. This also helps people all over the world who need to get treated by a foreign expert but lack the financial resources to avail the best healthcare options. Research believes that the integrations will become more valid if bandwidth and speed are increased.

Introduction and further development of intra-operative imaging, including real-time, three-dimensional (3-D) reconstructions of the patient, and computer-aided surgery offer surgeons the opportunity to train the planned surgical procedure. Intra-operative imaging enables intra-operative revisions and evaluation and replaces postoperative CT control. The availability of 3 views, i.e. coronal, sagittal and axial provides immense confidence and information to the surgeon. It provides high level of accuracy to the surgeons during operation to carry out immediate revisions and thus saving time for patients. Equipment like navigation system gives surgeon ability to accurately navigate patients’ anatomy in the operating room throughout the procedure. It allows surgeons to obtain real-time feedback and offers the potential to decrease intraoperative errors.

Another breakthrough development in the OT technology is the invention of robotic systems. Robotics has entered into the operating environment and provide surgeons with unparalleled precision, dexterity and control that enable a minimally invasive approach to many complex surgical procedures. The 3D image in the console viewer allows surgeons to see anatomical structures in high definition and natural colors. It provides improved diagnostic abilities, a less invasive and more comfortable experience for the patient Cuts down on the trauma and healing time. It can be used for performing minimally invasive robot-assisted operative procedures in Urology, Gynecology, Cardio-Thoracic, Colorectal and General Surgery. Robotic Surgical Systems are becoming prevalent because they offer the potential to reduce the complications of surgery.

The functioning of the Operation Theatre is a massive collection of discrete systems. Rapid technological development has been helping to streamline it by maximizing its efficiency and value.