Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wearable Technology Economic Impact in the Operating Room-A Surgical Technologist perspective

Being in the front line on every surgical procedure done in the operating room, a surgical technologist have a direct influence on the increasing cost in healthcare.

With the rising health expenditure in America which is expected to be at an estimated 19 % of the U.S gross domestic product by 2020 (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service, 2011), being efficient and knowledgeable on what item to pull and open, equipment to set-up, instrument to use, implants to have available and the individual surgeons preference communicated in real time before the start of the surgical procedure could significantly reduce if not eliminate waste (time and cost) and more importantly promote patient safety.

Operating rooms are one of the most costly areas of hospital operations. Despite the many initiatives adopted and implemented the OR’s cost and potential operation profits are prone to an array of variables, one thing is certain: Time is an OR’s most valuable resources.  A slight delay in case start, lengthy turnover, time spent gathering supplies, reviewing surgeons paper printed preference card, looking for a missing equipment and figuring out operation and configuration; attributes of an ineffective OR operation and process, can severely hinder an OR’s efficiency and ability to maintain a positive contribution margin.

 Wearable technology (Google Glass) can play a crucial part as an apparatus to improve competency.  Glass was originally marketed only as a consumer device but most of its early adopters put the wearable to work, using Glass to make their jobs more efficient.  The recent launched of Google’s Glass at Work program to promote development of enterprise base application gives justification of adopting wearable technology with meaningful use in healthcare.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Google GLASS: Augmenting OR Personnel Competency,

Advancement in medical equipment and surgical technology has led to a
significant improvement in surgical intervention and patient care.New medical equipment, instruments, surgical supplies and method of interventions are introduced, integrated and adopted by clinician to cope up with the changing needs in providing the best surgical care.
However, failure in equipment and technology are implicated in surgical errors and adverse event.  About 15 errors occur during a typical operation and 24% of these errors are accounted to equipment and surgical technology failure.  

Among this errors, lack of availability of needed equipment accounted for 37%, problems with
equipment configuration and settings occurred in 44% of cases
, and device malfunction was responsible for 33% of cases.
(BMJ Quality & Safety 25 July 2013) 

Preoperative Care: A Unique Environment

The preoperative arena is a unique environment that includes many challenging variables: complex clinical care performed by teams; high cost, sophisticated technologies; and a large array of supplies, instruments, and implants that are difficult to manage.  These variables create an environment of massive complexity and unfortunately, are a source of a significant percentage of patient safety-related adverse event.
"Improving Perioperaive Patient Safety..." P.J St.Jacques

For decades the preoperative fundamentals has not change that most of it had become obsolete, wasteful, impractical and unsafe.  

With the inherent complexity of the perioperative environment combined with utilization of intricate, state of the art; not to mentioned expensive medical/surgical equipment and technology , can become overwhelming and strenuous for the OR personnel whom on top of it all is also expected to deliver a safe and quality patient care in a fast paced controlled environment.

In this age of robotic surgery, revolution in modern medicine and advancement in medical and surgical technology, perioperative personnel competency has been challenged, demanded and innovation is now needed.

" Competence refers to potential ability and/ or capability to function in a given situation. Competency focuses on ones actual performance in a situation. This means that competence is required before one can expect to achieve competency."
K. Schroeter RN

Opportunities abound for technology and informatics-based competency improvements in perioperative care. What better way to achieved competency than to adopt technology itself and its many developed and yet to be develop contemporary methods or applications that will enhanced and elevates OR personnel's competence.

The Impact of Wearable Technology in Healthcare

Wearable technology; like Google GLASS, isn't just a set of neat gadget. Its a technology that is making its way from something that we hold in our hands to something we can wear hands-free to enhanced our lives. So it make perfect sense that health care is one industry that see a lot of benefits with wearable technology. 

What is Google GLASS
Recently, the move towards " ubiquitous computing" had led to the development of a new technology category: wearable technology. Most of this device are so called "smart hardware", combining computer and connectivity capability.

Google GLASS is a wearable computer that you donned in your head. It is equipped with a heads up display that has resolution of a 46' flat tv view from 3 feet away, a camera with audio, video and still capture capability, wi-fi, bluetooth and USB cable connectivity and an operation almost entirely hands free.

Successful adoption of any technology, especially in a clinical environment, providing resources for training of all affected clinicians is critical.  Successful training in the perioperative environment is especially challenging, since hour available are typically limited and costly.  

In an absence of an informatics and technology-base generic process structure; like developing a web-base application for the hand held and wearable technology, that can be utilized as an educational resource equipping everyone with real-time access to data and information, the organization have to train, re-train and "reinvent the wheel" again and again which could result in time and cost escalation.

Google GLASS has the potential to be an effective device to improved personnel performance, which translate to a cost effective, efficient and safe delivery of medical/surgical care.

" Why train a few if we can equip everyone"- John C Springer CST

Technology has revolutionized the world of surgery and transform how surgical intervention are performed and perfected. To be an effective, efficient and confident part of the surgical team, it is prudent to adopt and used technology as a tool of the trade for the preoperative personnel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Preoperative Personnel in today's OR

Advancement in medical and surgical technology has significantly improved patient outcome for the past decade.  But this didn't come easy specially for the preoperative personnel, the backbone of any surgical procedure, the arm and the leg of the surgeon in and around the sterile field, providing technical and physical support to get the case going from pre-op, intra-op to post-op.

The preoperative department  is a complex arena, with its inherent tight rope, delicately balanced assigned responsibility between gathering needed supplies,  setting up complicated and expensive medical/surgical equipment, maintaining the sterile field, filling paper works and  documentation; which you have to do not just once but over and over again all through out your shift, can become overwhelming and strenuous for the preoperative personnel whom on top of it all is also expected to deliver only the best patient care in a fast paced controlled environment.