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.