Until Help Arrives: Surgical Expertise That’s Always On Call

Being a surgeon can feel like a solitary profession, but in the operating room (OR) you’re never truly alone. Especially, when there’s a remote assistance solution in place. The truth is, whether it’s a planned or unplanned procedure, sometimes complications arise, and expert guidance is needed to ensure the best outcome for a patient.

But what if the local specialist is involved with another operation? Or what if it’s the middle of the night, and they’re asleep? Or what if the operation is taking place in a remote location and the nearest expert is miles away? Time is of the essence, and delays cost lives.

Why Time Matters

For over 10 years, it’s been recognized that traveling long distances to a hospital can increase the mortality rate of patients with potentially life-threatening conditions. One study published by the Emergency Medicine Journal (EMJ) indicated a 1% increase in the mortality rate for every 10 km straight-line distance traveled.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see the importance of timely and accurate surgical intervention in emergencies – especially if a particular specialist is not on-site or unavailable. But time can also be a factor in routine operations when surgeons encounter a barrier to their work – whether that’s knowledge, skill, or an unforeseen complication – which requires a second opinion on a particular detail or technique.

In both scenarios, getting timely expert advice into the OR could be the difference between life and death.

Bridging The Gaps

For surgeons operating in remote locations where specialist knowledge is not locally available, it becomes necessary to bring external advice into the OR. This is true even for surgeons based in a university hospital or a larger medical facility, who do have the expertise they need close by. That’s because due to external factors such as the time of day or busy schedules, it’s not always possible to connect with the right expert at the right time. And the clock is ticking.

Assuming it’s possible to locate a relevant expert, a telephone call facilitates a conversation, but a live video feed, a surgeon’s eye view of proceedings, and two-way audio communication mean that the remote expert can also guide their colleague’s work in the OR – without the need to travel or scrub-in. Whether they’re in the same building or located on another continent – a remote assistance solution can help bridge the gap in terms of distance and surgical knowledge.

Expertise On Demand 24/7

Dialing up a more experienced colleague for their professional opinion might be helpful, but having them dial into the OR is even better. Of course, in an emergency, there’s no substitute for an expert being in the room, but what if they’re not immediately available? There are two options: sit and wait or bring in a remote expert.

Let’s say the local expert is away from the hospital, and they’re on call. When they get the call, it could be 30 minutes or more until they arrive at the site, and a further 10 minutes or so to get scrubbed in. We’re looking at around a 45-minute delay.

In the meantime, using the Rods&Cones remote assistance solution, the surgical team in the OR could contact another available expert located somewhere else in the world, to ensure they get on-demand advice while they wait. Not only that, if the situation suddenly becomes more urgent, the remote expert could begin to guide their colleague through a procedure.

When the specialist does reach the OR in person, they can help supervise the proceedings or even assist if required. The important thing is that no time has been lost, and the patient has received the best possible treatment in the fastest possible time frame.

Interested in bringing 24/7 expertise on demand to an operating room or field hospital? Book a demo.

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