Bring a Second Pair of Expert Eyes into the OR Using Remote Technology

Surgeon performing laparoscopic surgery with remote assistance technology providing a second pair of eyes for optimal patient outcomes.

There’s a good reason why pilots fly in pairs. They use the 4 eyes principle, so two experts can agree on one course of action before it takes place. In contrast, surgeons tend to make decisions alone during surgery. Yet sometimes another pair of eyes can help confirm critical decisions and ensure optimal patient outcomes.

Decision-making at the knife edge can make the difference between life and death. The trouble is that sometimes another pair of eyes is either unavailable, off-site or located elsewhere. That’s when remote assistance technology can bridge physical distances and ensure surgeons get a second opinion when they need it the most.

Why It’s Needed

When you board a plane, there are two pilots. The co-pilot works with the pilot, providing assistance and a second opinion when needed. It’s double-lock security. Whilst aviation and surgery are very different professions, they both require critical decision-making to prevent injury or loss of life. From both the surgeon’s and the patient’s perspective, the 4 eyes principle makes total sense. So why isn’t it standard practice?

Cost is a significant factor. In the operating room (OR) there are many healthcare professionals, but only one lead surgeon. It’s too expensive to have two lead surgeons in the room at once. But what if it didn’t have to be? Remote assistance technology can bring a second surgeon – located anywhere in the world — into the OR without having to scrub in. That means the lead surgeon never has to ‘walk’ alone. 

Seeing The Benefits

Remote assistance technology is much more cost-effective than bringing a second surgeon into the OR. Using a computer and a secure remote assistance platform with two-way communication, an external expert can provide a second pair of eyes at critical moments in surgery. Having a hand on their shoulder gives them the reassurance of making the right decision. Now the lead surgeon can call for a second opinion on demand when they need it the most.

No surgeons want their patients to encounter complications which could have been avoided by better decision-making during surgery. The 4 eyes principle provides clarity and reduces any likelihood of errors. Not only does it bring peace of mind to the surgeon operating, but it naturally leads to better patient care, and cost reduction in both public and private-sector healthcare. This is particularly true for remote medical facilities, where the only way to get certain surgical specialists into the OR is by flying them in from another location.

Remote 4 Eyes Principle in Surgery

“I believe that the Rods&Cones remote service can bring the 4 eyes principle – a second surgeon in the room, so the surgeon never has to walk alone.”

 Professor Jaap Bonjer, Professor of Surgery and Chair of the Department of Surgery, Amsterdam University Medical Centre

Professor Jaap Bonjer suggests that by using remote assistance services, such as Rods&Cones, there could be potential to prevent dreaded complications. One of these complications that could potentially be prevented is bile duct injury during laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which is a common procedure done in general surgery.

Providing a second pair of eyes during surgery allows the operating surgeon to have assistance and a second opinion when complications arise. Moreover, the progressive adoption of the Rods&Cones platform in daily surgical practice will generate more data on beneficial clinical outcomes.

Better Outcomes for All

Remote technology makes it possible for surgeons to coach and mentor their peers from outside the OR. So, when high-stakes situations play out on the surgeon’s table, there doesn’t need to be a high cost to mitigating potential risks. The truth is that with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever before to get a second pair of expert eyes into the OR and ensure the best outcomes for both surgeons and their patients. 

See what Rods&Cones can do for your OR. View the benefits for healthcare customers.

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