Once again, the Hot Technology special issue highlights the latest, cutting-edge technology transforming ORs — and the way we care for patients. I've always looked forward to this annual edition to learn about new and exciting advances that are coming soon to an OR near you (why not mine?) or already in use (why am I behind the times?).
Technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever, with computer-assisted everything becoming the "new normal" due to the pandemic. Virtual patient visits used to be as uncommon as having to memorize a phone number, but now they're our reality in an abnormal world. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics were things we only saw in sci-fi movies. They, too, are becoming our reality as we advance science and medicine hand in hand. Everything we need to provide the safest and best care to our patients should be at our fingertips. We aren't there yet, but we're moving in the right direction.
Investing in new technology, however, comes at a higher cost. That investment must fit your facility's needs and, of course, your budget. But asking if your facility can afford new technology is only one of the questions you should ask. It's equally important to ask if you can afford not to invest in the latest advancements in surgical care — if you don't want to adapt, adopt and lead the way!
Patients are more tech-savvy than ever. They have far greater access to healthcare information than they ever did in the past, and they're seeking out facilities that have state-of-the-art equipment available and promote its use. What's the point of investing in the latest technology if potential patients don't know about it? Whether it's through advanced optics and imaging for better intraoperative visualization, robotic assistance or more precise nerve blocks for better post-op pain control, today's informed and tech-savvy patients will drive the market and push surgeons and anesthesia providers to the facilities that provide better, faster, and safer surgeries and recoveries.
Tech-savvy patients will drive the market and push surgeons and anesthesia providers to facilities that provide better, faster and safer surgeries and recoveries.
The pandemic taught us how fragile our healthcare system truly is. Many surgery centers were shut down overnight when elective surgeries were halted. Unfortunately, some centers didn't survive. Training at academic centers went virtual. Educational meetings did, too. While we miss the opportunity to shake hands and chat face-to-face with our friends and colleagues, technology allows us to share information remotely and connect with even more people.
Patients will always need surgery, but we can't be complacent or remain satisfied with the level of care we provide today. We must stay at the forefront of learning about and embracing new technologies that let us perform safer and more effective surgery. We must futureproof our operating rooms, supply systems and sterile processing departments. We must use technology to guide and track our patients' rehabs and help them recover from surgery more quickly.
Inside the pages of this magazine, you'll find practical, real-world tips on how to do just that. This year has certainly taught us to not take anything or anyone for granted. But, to quote Yogi Berra and my favorite musician Tom Petty, perhaps the most important lesson 2020 has taught us is this: "The future ain't what it used to be!" OSM