18 de jan de 2021

How to stay ahead of common tech problems in the operating room

SAÚDE - MONITORES MÉDICOS - SERVIÇO 3 minutos de leitura

Tech problems in the operating room can be a matter of life and death, and they can seriously impact hospital revenues. As unpredictable as tech problems may be, there is a way to stay ahead of them and to prevent tech issues from impacting your efficiency and productivity.

Technology problems are a surgeon’s worst nightmare. When operating room (OR) equipment fails, it not only disrupts the activity of the hospital’s highest revenue-generating department, but according to a study by BMJ Quality & Safety, equipment-related failures also form a substantial proportion of all errors occurring in the OR.

Present-day ORs are relying on more digital technology to support surgeons and improve patient outcomes. However, with an increased number of devices that is brought in, the OR risks becoming a complex mix of technology that is hard to maintain. OR technicians have the challenging task to maximize the OR’s uptime and perform maintenance in the most efficient way possible: all the time spent on doing technical maintenance cannot be used for surgery.

Common tech problems in the OR

As for surgical imaging, the technician’s goal is to provide the highest quality video image to allow the surgeon to do his job. A wide range of technical problems can get in the way of reaching that goal:

  • Faulty or worn-out cables, or cables that have been plugged in incorrectly
  • Overheated devices due to a lack of air-conditioning or efficient fanning
  • Devices with incompatible or outdated firmware
  • Networked devices that have been configured incorrectly
  • Video sources that are unstable or not supported
  • Devices or systems that continuously reboot due to hardware failures

Efficient troubleshooting

The increased complexity of the OR and the variety of possible tech problems require extensive expertise. Finding the root cause of such a problem may require a lot of time, knowledge, and sometimes expensive measurement equipment. This is one of the reasons why equipment problems often lead to delays. This only gets worse when technicians do not have one OR under their wings, but multiple ORs spread across multiple facilities or hospitals.

Today, a lot of ORs are going digital by replacing many of their analog or digital video connections with an all-IP solution. IP-based video integration, also called OR-over-IP, helps to better detect and troubleshoot a lot of the before-mentioned technology problems. An OR-over-IP approach reduces much of the complexity associated with traditional AV equipment, because it runs on a standard IP architecture. This simplifies installation and deployment, and reduces the set-up time in the OR.

Monitor the OR remotely

An IP-based OR also allows technical professionals and hospital managers to get a comprehensive overview of all connected systems and their problems in the cloud. This is exactly what Barco’s NexxisCare solution is about. NexxisCare is a cloud-based solution that captures data from fibers and systems connected with Barco’s Nexxis OR-over-IP system, and analyzes that data in the cloud. NexxisCare also visualizes all collected technical data in a structured dashboard.

The strength of NexxisCare is that video quality can be monitored 24/7 and possible problems can be detected remotely, all without sending a single engineer to the OR. As such, NexxisCare not only makes it possible to monitor the OR proactively, but when a problem does occur, the technical team can diagnose and troubleshoot much more effectively, based on the data that has been collected by NexxisCare. And when new OR equipment has just been installed, NexxisCare is a great solution to do an initial sanity and reliability check.

Barco will also take further steps with NexxisCare to enable it to monitor devices from other vendors as well. This way, OR integrators, service managers and biomedical engineers will have an all-encompassing monitoring solution for the digital OR.

Technical problems may be as unpredictable as life itself. But with a solution like NexxisCare, a lot of that unpredictability is taken away. NexxisCare helps technicians to always be two steps ahead of possible issues, and as such to avoid unexpected downtime, unplanned costs or delays.