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Inside the Digital OR
A sampling of the technology that makes real-time visual integration and display come to life.
Daniel Cook
Publish Date: October 10, 2007   |  Tags:   Surgical Video and Imaging

What exactly is a digital OR, anyway? "That's a good question," says Debbie Hay, RN, BSN, CASC, president of the Texas Institute for Surgery in Dallas. "I think we all have different interpretations."

Does it mean that intraoperative images are displayed in high-def on flat-panel, wall-mounted monitors? That centralized controls manage everything from the intensity of surgical lights to image capture? That you can integrate OR systems, electronic medical records, the patient's X-ray and other digital imaging files? Or is it some or all of the above?

Because her facility performs lots of orthopedic cases, Ms. Hay defines a digital OR as a system that powers the cameras used during shoulder and knee arthroscopies, captures the procedure's images and digitally stores them for later downloading to disc or EMR.

For Laurie Streib, CMM, administrator of Southern Indiana Endoscopy in New Albany, a digital OR's greatest asset is immediate access to information. "All digital records ensure that physicians can access patient medical information at any time and from any location," she says. "Our system's faxing and e-mailing capabilities lets us share pertinent medical information with other physicians or facilities immediately."

Perhaps this description from a company says it best. Digital ORs facilitate the flow of information between devices and departments and among caregivers. They equip OR teams to see all relevant information about the patient and operation - precisely when needed. Here are nine products that can help you go digital (however you define it).

A Few of Your Digital OR Options

CompView Medical
(800) 448-8439
The NuBoom system's floor-mounted design and internal cabling lets you distribute more monitors around the OR table while keeping floors clear of trip hazards, says CompView Medical. The system's integrated control panel features intuitive touch-panel commands. The company says the NuBoom system can be installed in two days.

ConMed Integrated Systems
Nurse's Assistant OR Control System
(800) 470-1106
The Nurse's Assistant is an integrated system that centralizes OR control. It operates as a non-Windows based system without a keyboard or mouse. Touchscreen controls let you switch video signals, activate equipment, restore monitor settings, and set nurse station and OR light levels.

Olympus Medical
HD Alpha OR
(800) 548-5515
Olympus's integrated OR lets you control surgical and ancillary equipment from the sterile field while displaying and transmitting clinical data electronically. The system works in tandem with Olympus's Evis Exera II platform to provide high-definition images during endoscopic procedures.

Richard Wolf
CORE System
(847) 913-1113
CORE - short for Complete Operating Room for Endoscopy - controls OR lights, tables and room cameras. It digitally records high-resolution diagnostic images and videos, and features a complete image management system that archives captured files. The system also offers teleconferencing and video conferencing capabilities.

(800) 759-8766
This system provides versatile design options by offering vendor-neutral solutions. Touch-screen controls manage MIS images, surgical lights and cameras, C-arm imaging, surgical microscopes, medical records and teleconferencing.

Smith & Nephew
Condor Control System
(800) 343-5717
A customizable, modular and upgradeable system providing central control of medical and imaging devices through the use of touch panels and voice commands. Smith & Nephew says the system comes in a smaller unit - the Condor Express Digital OR Station - that provides digital OR capabilities in an economic, space-saving design.

Harmony Integrated OR
(800) JIT-4-USE
The Harmony Integrated OR works with all major camera and endoscope brands. It also controls video and data signals as well as lighting, music and teleconferencing systems. Steris says it will design and install a system tailored to your facility's needs.

Switchpoint Infinity and Element
(877) 789-8106
Both the Switchpoint Element (top) and Switchpoint Infinity let you switch endoscopic, C-arm and PACS images between OR monitors. They also provide control of surgical devices from a central location and are capable of one-touch room setups based on surgeon-specific requirements. The Infinity integrates ORs, pathology or skills labs and conference rooms. The Element is designed for in-room system routing.

Viking Systems
Infomatix LiveData OR-Dashboard
(858) 431-4010
The Infomatix line includes the LiveData OR-Dashboard. It captures, synthesizes and displays information from diverse systems in an easily understood way on a centrally located, large-screen monitor, says Viking Systems. The system captures information in real-time, letting staff see and quickly understand the patient's state and the operation's status.