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Editor's Page
HDTV - From Family Room to Operating Room
Dan O'Connor
Publish Date: October 10, 2007

My wall-mounted, 46-inch, flat panel 1080p Sony Bravia XBR LCD HDTV makes the 32-inch console it displaced look like a runty little stub. Yes, I'm a high-def snob, and I can't imagine ever going back to standard-definition TV. Please, I need my pixels.

But we're talking about my family room, where looks are all that matters. What about your operating room - does HDTV belong in there? That's the topic of our cover story, "Getting a Clear Picture of HDTV" (page 42) by contributing editor Dianne Taylor. Besides explaining just what HDTV is and isn't - you might be surprised by a few things - Dianne got the industry experts to discuss the clinical utility of high-definition endoscopy.

David Kurowski, product manager for video integration with Richard Wolf Medical Instruments, tells Dianne that HD endoscopy will be like "looking through a plate-glass window" when it hits its peak. It is this promise of impossibly clear views inside the body that lead many to believe that the value of using HDTV in endoscopic surgery will go well beyond the sharper image and the gee-whiz appeal of pretty pictures to such clinical benefits as increased accuracy, reduced surgeon fatigue and better visualization of disease.

Quite literally, your surgeons will see what they've been missing when it comes to subtle differences in tissue. They could detect disease sooner if high-def's high resolution and better contrast reveal the detail of a lesion, the surface of a polyp or the signature of an early cancer in the colon wall.

"Clarity, intensity and the light contradictions are just so much better than when we were pulling regular TVs up to the side of the table," says Audrey Van Veen, RN-C, BSN, MSM, the clinical design/implementation project manager at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Wash., which installed HDTV in its 16 fully digitzed ORs in 2004. "The organs just stick out at you.

"It's like regular analog TV versus HDTV," she adds. "Yes, you can see the picture when you watch regular TV, but when you see HDTV, you wonder how you ever watched the first one."

For Ms. Van Veen, the real proof that HDTV was a wise investment is in her surgeons' smiles.

"If you were to ask any doc in any service, the doc would say, ?Yeah, it's so much better than it was.' It makes their job easier. And it makes our facility so appealing that surgeons would rather work here than anyplace else."


You'll notice a couple of changes to our editorial masthead. Nathan Hall, formerly associate editor at Practical Neurology Magazine, has joined our staff. And David Bernard has been promoted to senior associate editor.