A quick look around any modern surgical suite makes it abundantly clear that medical technology is on the march. It seems as though not a week goes by without a new instrument or surgical system being released to change the way surgery is performed.

This is by no means a bad thing, of course. Most of the new medical equipment being developed and introduced into the OR definitely helps to increase surgical efficiency and improve patient outcome. Naturally, though, each new piece of equipment needs to be controlled and worked into the routine workflow of the OR. This can put a strain on the entire surgical staff.

The CareSuite™ SmarTrack display in PACU improves
communication and patient flow.


Luckily, one of the latest developments in technology for the OR is aimed at making things easier for surgeons and nurses alike in the technologically advanced modern surgical suite. The new equipment that is become essential indispensable to surgery can now be reined in with a variety of OR Control Systems and Integration Software. These new systems can help the surgeons and OR staff to take full advantage of the latest surgical equipment, while maintaining focus on the most important thing in the OR, the patient.

Karl Storz Endoscopy-America’s OR1® integrated operating room system reflects the company’s vision of the ideal minimally invasive surgical suite. The system delivers centralized command of all OR equipment, lasers, operating tables, room and operating lights, digital documentation, data storage, and teleconferencing technology. By simplifying the handling of these complex systems, the OR1 optimizes operational procedures and facilitates the routine work in the OR.

The new KARL STORZ OR1® Icon-Driven A/V Control System Interface provides centralized command of all operating room components from a single touchscreen.

The new Karl Storz OR1 Icon-Driven A/V Control System Interface provides efficient operation and monitoring of all components from a single touchscreen and allows user- and operation-specific equipment parameters to be programmed easily from outside or within the sterile field. The unique A/V Interface utilizes easy-to-use icons to provide intuitive graphic representations of all OR1 image sources and available displays.

The icon-based A/V Interface was designed by clinicians for clinicians to offer superior control of all OR1 component systems and devices. All system- and user-defined pre-set function commands are simple to program and put full control of all systems right at the surgeon’s fingertips. By simplifying centralized management of operating room devices and functions, the easily recognized icon-based A/V Interface controls make training faster and easier. And users can choose from a selection of stock and custom icon designs to identify various system components.

Available from Stryker is Sidne®, a wireless device management system that offers voice activation to provide centralized control over the devices in the operating room. Sidne is capable of integrating and operating surgical equipment and controlling the surrounding OR environment. It is designed to bring control of the equipment used in the operating room back to the surgeon, and allows surgeons and staff to focus on patient safety and care while simultaneously controlling of the operating room environment.

Operating Room Integration featuring Skytron’s SkyVision OR Communications Control.

Based on a philosophy of better resolution, better results, and easy setup, Sidne allows for total surgeon control. In addition, Stryker takes the entire project in house from the design to the installation, with dedicated resources that manage each project by working with contractors, builders, and hospital staff. Those resources translate into efficiency for the hospital.

The Sidne system is designed to integrate and control much of Stryker’s proprietary medical equipment, including the 1088HD high-definition video camera which delivers 1280 x 1024 resolution using progressive-scan technology for optimum image quality. The company’s X7000 Lightsource, which was designed to complement the unique optical needs of HD endoscopic surgical systems, and the SDC HD digital capture unit are also controllable with Sidne through the use of both voice activation and wireless tablet.

CompView Medical, building on the over 20 years of experience of CompView Inc. in providing systems integration and group communication, specializes in the design and integration of audio-visual systems for the OR and across the entire healthcare environment.

Core to the company’s integration technology is the Digital Operating Control System (DOCS), a suite of integrated medical systems designed specifically for the surgical arena. The DOCS provides intuitive one-touch control of surgical documentation systems such as digital video capture and print equipment, as well as lights, temperature, and other environmental concerns in the OR. It also allows for audio and visual routing and conferencing for telemedicine teaching and consultation.

NuBoom™ is a simple all-in-one equipment management, boom and visualization system designed to enable hospitals to easily upgrade an OR's minimally invasive surgery capability.

A recent addition to the DOCS solution is CompView’s new NuBoom™ product, an efficient alternative to ceiling mounted booms. The NuBoom offers ample cabinet and shelf space to house existing medical and video equipment, and effectively manages equipment wires and cables, helping the OR staff to avoid trip-and-fall accidents that can occur in ORs using cart systems. NuBoom also features two 9-foot booms with 35-inch extension arms that provide for precise and ergonomic 6-axis monitor positioning. A touchscreen control system allows the surgeon to select the video source for each monitor. In addition, the system only requires three days to install, virtually eliminating costly downtime and transforming existing ORs into a safer, more efficient environments.

CompView Medical also provides an extensive selection of medical grade audio and visual equipment, including displays, monitors, image capture units, and printers.

Picis, a provider of information systems for emergency departments, operating rooms, and intensive care units, offers the CareSuite™ for total perioperative automation. From the preoperative area through the operating room, the recovery room, post-surgical care units, and into critical care, CareSuite optimizes operational efficiencies and helps improve clinical outcomes throughout high-acuity care. This includes surgical scheduling, preference card management, perioperative documentation, supply chain management, and billing. By collecting and sharing all of this information online, the software provides the critical data needed for hospitals to reduce costs, maximize resources, improve patient outcomes and analyze the costs of delivering care.

The CareSuite’s OR Manager module supports a totally integrated perioperative record. The software integrates with other CareSuite applications to support clinical workflow and documentation needs. Nursing documentation integrates with important aspects of the anesthesia record, such as timed events, procedures, staff, and demographic data, reducing the risk of documentation conflicts and reduces billing denials. In addition, the sharing of surgical site verification documentation among all areas of care works as a series of checks and balances, allowing the entire staff to verify that the surgical procedure occurs at the expected location. Documented information is seamlessly available to CareSuite SmarTrack, the surgical patient tracking module, for improved communication throughout the surgical experience.

OR Manager also saves time and money by integrating charges generated by the perioperative department directly with a hospital’s billing department. Once a surgical case is complete, OR Manager transmits supply use, OR time, procedures, equipment, staffing and other costs to billing, allowing patient charges to be calculated and communicated seamlessly. This streamlined approach reduces lost charges and improves the accuracy and timeliness of patient charges, providing a significant return on investment.

Skytron’s SkyVision provides advanced video, data, and communications control for the OR via interactive Graphic User Interface (GUI) touchscreen. An Open Architecture Platform and Vendor Neutral Control Interface System, the SkyVision provides for critical clinical data routes within and outside the hospital, connecting to Pathology, Radiology, PACS, Specialty Clinics, Telemedicine, Surgical Consulting, Conference Rooms, Intensive Care Units, Medical Records and the Internet. In addition, it can take multiple video and data input sources and selectively displays them to multiple output displays.

The Stryker i-Suite® Operating Room utilizes the Sidne wireless device management system, which provides voice-activated control over a wide array of devices in the OR.

SkyVision’s Open Architecture Platform and Vendor Neutral structure makes it completely self reliant and able to be used with any endoscopic, fluoroscopic, or microscope supplier. The system normalizes both video and data signals into optimal, high quality 1280 x 1024 display resolution that allows users the unique ability to route any video or data signal to any display monitor in the system while maintaining optimal quality image resolution at all times, ieven with video signals from low resolution video sources such as in light cameras and wall cameras.

SkyVision is designed so that all of the video, data and communication sources are displayed on the touchscreen as well as the display monitors. As part of the ease of use, the circulating Nurse can route images in as little as two touches at the control screen. The live preview screen and visual feedback display eliminate confusion, making the process simple and comprehensive. Routing these images seamlessly to the display monitors reduces the need for the surgical staff to leave the patient to look at images.

In addition, the SkyVision’s DVD record feature enables the physician to perform live annotation of the surgical procedure, eliminating the need to perform post-op editing of recorded information. The image capture function further allows information from all of the connected video, data and communication sources to be stored electronically and added to an electronic medical record or printed for addition to a hard copy record for the patient.

The ALPHA O.R.™ integrated OR system from Olympus provides surgeon and nurse control of clinical and non-clinical devices, allowing efficient division of labor in the operating room. This customized, build-on-demand, integrated OR controls both Olympus medical devices and environmental devices such as surgical lights, room lights, telephone, room camera, video conferencing equipment, and digital recorders. ALPHA O.R. also allows users to route video sources within the OR, within the facility, or anywhere in the world via an easy-to-use, touch panel interface. The system also integrates with existing PACS and HIS systems to protect a facility’s IT investment.

EndoALPHA, which is the “brain” of the ALPHA O.R., is Olympus’s centralized OR control system, integrating various Olympus medical components including camera, light source, electrocautery, insufflator, the SonoSurg™ ultrasonic cutting and coagulation system, DV-R, and other devices such as printers and VCRs. It includes as many as 100 electronic preference cards, allowing a facility to preset surgeon settings for quick and efficient set up prior to every procedure. In addition, EndoALPHA has a unique, real-time troubleshooting feature that displays the system component requiring attention, the nature of the problem, and recommended course of action.

Recognizing the need for multi-purpose rooms, ALPHA O.R. allows both fixed and variable equipment to be operational for any procedure type, whether laparoscopic or open. Olympus provides a complete and diverse product offering to integrate both surgical and GI specialties. Procedure specific equipment can be connected using Olympus guest ports and is automatically recognized by the EndoALPHA centralized control system. Boom mounted and/or mobile cart equipment common to all procedures is also automatically recognized from a single touch screen or through an optional voice navigation feature, with all the data going directly to the surgeon in the sterile field. This allows for the greatest flexibility and effective use of assets.

Today’s surgical suites incorporate so much new and innovative equipment—the result of the latest developments aimed at surgical efficiency and better patient outcome—that it can be very easy for the surgical staff to get confused and lost in the new medical environment. It is fortunate that the technology handling the control and integration of the new equipment is advancing at such a steady progression. While surgical systems will continue to advance and improve, these various control and integration hardware and software systems represent the latest and most efficient technology for the modern OR.