The operating room continues to push the limits of procedural innovation and technological capability. Recently, Surgical Products sat down with some industry experts to gauge their input on how many of these new technologies will impact the Devon Bream, Black Diamond Videosurgical community, from both an implementation and procurement perspective.

Surgical Products: How will the transition from HD technology to 4K Ultra HD affect the OR?

Devon Bream, Global Sales and Marketing Director, Black Diamond Video: 4K UHD (ultra high definition) will emerge through device manufacturers that can generate images and video signals that benefit the use of 4K UHD; ultrasound, radiology, etc. These advances will allow clinicians to see more data, which means more they will have more clinically relevant information in performing complex procedures with better clinical outcomes.

SP: In what ways will it benefit surgery?

Bream: 4K UHD allows for four times the data as standard HD. Four times the amount of data allows you to display four times as many pixels without distorting or scaling the native image. This is important for surgery because 4K UHD will allow side-by-side or picture-in-picture images to be compared in real time without image degradation or compromise. As more complex procedures introduce different types of imaging, such as adding ultrasound or radiology to traditional endoscopy or direct visualization, the ability to map or tile multi modalities with 4K UHD allows clinicians to see like never before. Another critical benefit is the ability of the surgical team to view at the pixel level. With 4K UHD a clinician can view at the pixel level much more so than at today’s HD resolution. This means clinicians can see more anatomical detail than ever before.

SP: Do the benefits of this new technology outweigh the costs?

Bream: 4K UHD will require incremental cost but should not be outrageous if the vendors are fair to the market place. Purchasers should evaluate if the vendors can truly handle 4K UHD or if they are “downscaling” the signal to allow it to pass through their systems. As with other consumer-adopted technologies, early adopters will pay more than the followers. However, 4K UHD will evolve as the new standard and every device manufacturer will output 4K UHD, which will drive the cost down. Considerations for cost must include not just the devices that generate the 4K UHD signal, but also the monitors, cabling, and recording of these high bandwidth signal generators.

SP: What reasons are medical professionals giving hospital administrators to justify purchasing new visualization equipment?

Bream: Clinical outcomes should be the number one reason for adoption. The ability to see multiple modalities, in a side-by-side comparison format, never previously available, should allow clinicians to make better procedure decisions for their patients. Making better clinical decisions due to better imaging and comparative modality viewing will significantly change the outcomes of surgery in a positive way.

SP: The future of OR technology is ever-changing, what do you think will eventually replace 4K Ultra HD? What can hospitals do to stay ahead of the curve?

Bream: Hospitals can and should plan for the future of 4K UHD and beyond, today. They can do this by installing infrastructure that is designed and ready for future high-data intensity signal types like 4K and 8K. While 4K is here and now, 8K is on the horizon. 8K will offer clinicians the ability to view 7680 x 4320, whereas today’s HD is only 1920 x 1080. This means clinicians can see 16 times the amount of data on the same screen, but only if that screen and the infrastructure can route and display the 7680 x 4320 data, of course.

To hear from another industry expert on the topic of OR technology, includin the adoption of 4K, click here.