Images into the OR
At Lucile Packard’s Children’s Hospital, Craig Albanese MD, says that technology for pediatric care has “exploded recently,” and notes that even though the patients are smaller, the rooms have to be bigger to accommodate more instruments and imaging equipment now employed in the ORs.
Traditional operating rooms with imaging systems, high-tech displays and other systems being wheeled in and out is a thing of the past. The recent move towards streamlining ORs has made physicians, architects and device manufacturers rethink the conventional OR and find innovative ways to integrate equipment-especially imaging hardware- into their ORs at the point of care.

Lucile Packard’s Children’s Hospital

At Lucile Packard’s Children’s Hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., seven new ORs were opened in December 2008. Craig Albanese, MD, the division chief of pediatric general surgery at the hospital says that size-wise, the new ORs are larger than the previous rooms in order to support technology.  

“As technology has advanced in both imaging and operative technologies, we tried to fit the technology to the room instead of the other way round,” says Albanese, compared with ORs of the past which included a table, anesthesia machine and a backlit screen viewing plain films. 

Now the ORs are integrated to receive and transmit images and data in a two-way fashion. “I can transmit data over the web, I can transmit them to the conference room and I can archive them, take pictures and receive data,” explains Albanese. “I also can receive CT MRI and ultrasound [images] and cardiac cath data and we can put [those] not only on a computer screen in the back of the room, but we now have a  big plasma screen on the wall or we can hang it from a boom and  bring it right into the [operating] field.”

All the new technology is driving more medical professionals to the OR, rather than intimidating them, says Albanese. “The technology is pretty interesting and it’s easy to use. It’s something quite new and exciting and I think we will retain more people and nurses because of it rather than losing them. In the end, it makes us much more efficient in our procedures.”  

Beaumont Hospital

Surgical Director Theresa Farley says adding image access in the OR “absolutely provides better patient care,” namely for the larger, namely for general surgery cases in which Beaumont Hospital utilizes their four new integrated ORs.
Ever since remodeling six ORs into four integrated ORs optimized for minimally invasive surgery in the North Tower at Beaumont Hospital’s Royal Oak campus, in Royal Oak, Mich., the surgeons have fought over them, says Theresa Farley, the hospital’s director of surgery.

“Now, we have scheduling difficulty and we have to figure out which cases need to go into these rooms.  It’s a good problem,” she says.  

Once just under 400 square feet, the new ORs are approximately 600 square feet each and have been integrated with lights and monitors on booms to keep equipment off the floor and out of the way, as well as saving hospital staff from wheeling machines in and out of the OR before or after a procedure, notes Farley.

The integration and arrangement of the medical equipment inside the new ORs boost the quality and safety of the surgeries performed at the hospital, says Farley. 

Massachusetts General Hospital

The Operating Room of the Future Project at Mass General Hospital has boosted staff satisfaction as well as financial efficiency.
“Since opening in 2002, the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Operating Room of the Future has served as a living laboratory where physician innovators can explore new technology platforms and systems of care for minimally invasive surgical procedures,” explains Warren Sandberg, MD, and co-project leader of the center for integration of medicine and innovative technology (CIMIT) Operating Room of the Future. 

Much like Packard’s Children Hospital, the ORs at MGH have integrated patient data and imaging equipment in order to cut down on case turnover time. 

Building and designing the ORs was an important learning experience for the architects and physicians involved in the project at MGH, notes Sandberg.   

“By embracing the concepts of parallel processing and the thoughtful integration of technology within the redesigned environment, the desired outcomes of optimized patient safety and comfort, staff satisfaction, and financial  efficiency have been realized,” says Sandberg.