7 Innovations That Improve Operating Room Efficiency
Surgeries are primary income-generating activities in hospitals and health care facilities. As such, efficiency is crucial in the operating room (OR), where time equates to money as well as someone’s life.
Numerous procedures are done in operating rooms to remove tumors or replace faulty body parts daily. And while carrying them out allows surgeons to upgrade their skills, such improvement must be matched by technologies to make surgical procedures and their outcomes better overall.
Ultimately, the operating room staff must have all the resources to minimize errors and downtime while improving patient experience. Below are a few of the emerging innovations that enhance efficiency in the OR.
- Technologically Advanced Surgical Cameras
With cutting-edge imaging technology, doctors can operate with surgical precision. Advanced surgical cameras are capable of not only providing three-dimensional views but also capturing high-definition images. Ultra-small in size, they can be inserted into any body cavity, helping surgeons reach any internal area. Once inside, these cameras create an accurate map of the patient’s body.
Additionally, there are surgical headlights that do more than illuminate the surgical site. Others come with video recording capabilities such as BFW’s LED surgical headlight system to facilitate minimally invasive surgical procedures.
- Hybrid Operating Rooms
As the name suggests, a hybrid operating room is a traditional operating room equipped with the latest technologies and imaging systems, including computed tomography (CT) scanners, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, and the like. This type of operating room also comes with modern surgical tools for minimally invasive procedures.
A hybrid OR procedure involves far more precise and efficient methods than those carried out in standard operating rooms. Setting up and maintaining one can be costly, though, with estimates reaching several million dollars.
- Robotic Surgery
Surgical robot assistants have become more common in the operating room. They’re used in several surgical procedures, including hip replacement surgery, heart valve repair, and gynecological operations.
Robotic surgery procedures can be done in both open and minimally invasive surgeries. One of the main advantages of this technology is the heightened precision and control it provides surgeons, increasing patient outcomes. As a result, fewer errors are committed while patients become more satisfied with the medical services they receive.
- Artificial Intelligence
Apart from robotics, technology-forward hospitals rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to make better decisions before and during surgical procedures. In most hospitals where it’s installed, AI assists health care professionals by showing real-time videos of the surgery and comparing it with the patient’s surgical map.
Before the procedure, algorithms present data analytics and guides to the surgeon on an electronic device. With this, doctors have enough resources to decide how to move forward with a particular case. The system analyzes what’s happening during surgery and helps surgeons better predict their subsequent actions, improving results while avoiding severe procedural mishaps.
With the current lack of physicians and nurses worldwide, it’s said that artificial intelligence may dominate the operating room in 2024. While AI can’t make operational decisions, it can help hospitals manage their human resources—or lack of them—more sensibly.
- Digital Microscope
The human body is composed of complex systems. In neurosurgery and all surgical procedures, a seemingly insignificant error can have profound implications. That’s why advanced imaging technologies are always welcomed by doctors in the operating room.
In 2018, a breakthrough technology in the OR was launched: a digital microscope operated by a robot. Because it’s hands-free, surgeons can keep their hands on the patient while looking at the high-definition video on large monitor screens fed by the digital microscope.
- Speech Recognition System
Like in a smart home, the medical machines in an operating room can be set up to function without touching buttons or switches. Advanced OR systems allow for the installation of speech recognition software to operate pieces of equipment and perform other functions, such as recording a video, through voice commands.
- Virtual Reality And Surgical Apps For Skill Enhancement
Medical companies have made it possible for surgeons to practice outside of the hospital setting through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). AR technology creates a representation of an actual OR environment using a video app or a smartphone, while VR generates an alternate reality using computer-generated visuals.
Either way, surgeons who aren’t scheduled to go to the hospital can use specific surgical applications, special headsets, and patients’ 3D scans to practice before the actual surgery schedule. This significantly reduces errors and makes OR procedures faster without compromising the quality of health care delivery.
The Bottom Line
The lack of health care professionals and the pandemic have further strained hospital resources. Now more than ever, it’s time to develop better operating room practices using various tools and streamlined workflows. Thanks to these innovations in the OR, medical staff can perform their duties with more efficiency and guarantee better results.