“Some are doing patchwork in order to keep up,” states
Schleicher. “Others are being more aggressive and taking on the
expense for expansive upgrades. I think it usually comes down
to the number of ORs, or data points, and basing decisions off
of what makes the most sense. In my experience, some surgeons
have enough clout that they can get what they want. Most of the
time, however, it’s a compromise between the surgical staff and
those who have to mind the budget.”
Another key topic that will need to be addressed by ORs and
related IT professionals is the adoption of 4k resolution monitors.
Often referred to as Ultra High Definition, this 4,000-pixel imaging option offers obvious patient safety and procedural quality
benefits. Although opinions vary, Schleicher feels the jury is still
out on whether or not these benefits align with the associated costs
and challenges that accompany the fiber optic networking resources
this new technology demands. “You’ll need fiber to handle the data
streams produced by 4k. For most this will come down to a want
versus need situation, in terms of budgeting,” he states.
When asked about the advantages of using a single supplier
approach, Schleicher’s response was somewhat surprising. While
one might think that using the same vendor for all equipment would
help simplify things, this is rarely possible. He states that it really
comes down to the nature of the signals and how you want to trans-
mit them. Understanding your sources and minimizing any signal
scaling, - regardless of supplier - will ensure greater network and IT
efficiency. And of course, it makes your endusers happier as well.
Additional trends that Schleicher points to includes a consoli-
dation of systems that allow surgeons and OR personnel to see
more data at a single glance - on one screen, for example. From a
network perspective this means added connectivity, which leads
to bandwidth concerns that can stress data reliability rates.
At the end of the day, the ability to integrate highly connected
ORs that function as seamlessly as possible is the goal of everyone in the OR, as well as the personnel supporting those surgical
efforts. To ensure each patient and each procedure benefits from
the abundance of life-preserving technology available, it seems
that the best approach is for IT and OR departments to be working together before the purchase or implementation of these new
products, as opposed to waiting until the equipment has to be
installed or used.