Larg: Medical technologies are advancing rapidly, with innovations such as
wireless video transmission, 3D imagery, and the imminent leap into 4K resolution. The complexities of running numerous pieces of equipment in different rooms, with varying data signals and formats, are now being simplified
and solved. Avoiding the integration discussion and remaining static is not
the answer. The cost of upgrading, resource planning, technical training, and
time to return on investment will be among the main agenda items no matter
when a hospital begins its evaluation. Integrated ORs require careful planning that can take over a year, and with technology advancing so quickly, it is
important to review the integrated OR opportunity sooner rather than later.
Smith: The video integration market has been flooded with video routers of
various sizes using several different types of hardware and software. Finding
a router that works for all of the hospitals parameters can be daunting but
necessary for it to be effective.
SP: What are some of the factors that hold hospi-
tals back from embracing OR integration?
Larg: The initial investment into an integrated OR can be significant, especially for smaller facilities where funding can be a major issue. A facility must
have not only the space, but also the trained resources to run what is essentially an IT-centric environment. Some facilities may be lacking knowledge of
modern digital equipment and the potential that exists with the integration
Daniel Jerina, Business Development Executive, Healthcare Division
North America, Barco: I think the number one factor is capital, because the
systems – in general – tend to be pretty expensive, and they can get extremely
expensive depending on the features in that system. Hospital capital budgets
are shrinking, and their reimbursement rates are becoming more difficult
to predict. There are a lot of financial factors involved in that decision. It’s a
matter of allocating capital budgets appropriately.
Bream: I think the historical way of doing OR integration has been very
costly. That's because the players in it have traditionally bought an off-the-shelf commercial product and repackaged it with their medical company logo
and then had to resell it to the hospitals. So if you think about the amount of
markup just to run a business that goes on when you are doing those kinds of
transactions, it becomes really costly to hospitals. Programming is also a factor in terms of redoing the OR, putting in infrastructure, working with contractors. There’s cost of acquisition, but there’s also operating and programming costs on the hospital side. Also, a lot of end users are just confused.
This isn’t buying a monitor or a surgical instrument. I think a lot of end users
get into these projects and become very confused, and might even shy away
from even starting a project if they don’t really have a good grasp on it.
Rob Mann, General Manager, Oasys Healthcare Corporation: There are
many factors that could potentially hold back hospitals from deciding on
integrating their ORs, such as the size of the hospital and rooms, the preference of the surgeons, and the hospitals budget. The size of the hospital is
a huge deciding factor because if a hospital does not have many patients or
surgeries they will not use an integration system to its full potential. The preference of surgeons vary between every hospital and surgeon. For instance,
older surgeons are less tech-savvy and are probably not as interested in learning a whole new operating system. Finally, the budget of hospitals is the main
deciding factor on whether or not to embrace OR integration. At OASYS
Healthcare, we try to cater to these needs as best as we can by proving a budget and user-friendly system, making more hospitals interested in this new
technology. To make it even easier to use, with the purchase of our system
there are complementary training sessions on our system for the medical staff
at the hospital as well as a 30-day post installation follow up.
Smith: Money is the biggest factor with the adaptation of the video integration in any hospital. But other factors include product awareness, fear
of technology, and fear of change.