Anything and everything can happen in the operating room (OR) – day or night. While planned surgeries are usually scheduled for the beginning of the week there’s no real way of predicting what else might intervene and disrupt these perfect plans.
Although this is an accepted part of the job, it doesn’t mean that efficiencies can’t be improved in and around surgery. In fact given the technology that’s now available, entire time, cost, and efficiency gains can easily be made.
Best Laid Plans
Mondays and Tuesdays are usually the busiest days of the week in a hospital’s OR. Why? Because a lot of planned surgery is pencilled in for the start of any given week. Essentially this is a way of ensuring patients also recover for the remainder of the week: and to make sure there’s room for the next lot of scheduled patients.
But, as we know, medicine is far from simple. The fact is, if a patient requires surgery – planned or emergency – then it’s not only a surgeon that needs to be present. A team of instrumentists, nurses, and other professionals need to be available too – including an attending surgeon, should the need for additional expertise arise.
At their busiest, surgeons may find themselves dealing with more emergency surgeries than they’d anticipated in a single day. The knock-on effect is that planned operations get pushed to later in the day. This not only puts a lot of pressure on surgeons themselves, it means that the attending teams need to be constantly available – in person.
Streamlining Specialists’ Time
When an implant needs to be fitted – such as a stent or artificial hip – a medical device specialist is required too. Traditionally, they need to be present prior to a surgery to ensure the surgeon has all of the device information needed.
Their product knowledge may even occasionally be needed during the operation itself. But as they’re not allowed in the OR, it means a lot of waiting around – being on call, just in case.
However, given that a device specialist will have a wide geographical area to cover, and the fact that their time is already stretched, the only way device manufacturers can service a number of hospitals at the same time is to hire more staff.
Given the high FTE costs of a product specialist – it’s clear to see how costs can add up. Which means a greater financial burden on is placed on all parties in order to provide all patients undergoing surgery with the best possible care.
Putting Technology To Work
For all of these reasons, and others, the team at Rods&Cones have worked tirelessly to develop our smart surgery glasses. Now device specialists and attending surgeons can be on call without needing to be present in the OR.
When their support is needed, the surgeon simply ‘dials in’ (by looking at a QR code) the expert they needed and they’re instantly given full visual access to the surgery taking place.
While the time savings are considerable with a solution like this, given that device specialists spend some much time travelling (some 40,000 km per year) the reduction in their carbon footprint will also be significant.
It also means that surgeons can rely on the same device specialists being accessible more of the time; creating a cost saving too as fewer reps need to be out on the road to provide the service they’re needed for.
All things considered, having on-demand access to information and advice during surgery is essential. That need has to be prioritised. However the ways in which that need is met needs to evolve to be more efficient – and complement the available expertise in the time given, in a way that will benefit everyone in the value chain.
It’s as simple as that.