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The Myriad Uses Of The iPad In The Operating Room

Post image for Future Uses for the iPad in the Operating Room: a Game Changer ?

As we discussed in the first of this two part series, mobile devices are already entering the world of the surgeon. Currently, it is mostly downloadable apps that promise to help surgeons with the informational portions of their tasks, such as tracking the cases they have done, e.g. Surgichart or helping in the consent process, e.g. Surgery Risk

While apps that are dedicated to the technical aspects of surgery, such as the excellent AO Surgery Reference, are becoming available, in the future we will see the iPad (or its brethren) actually in the operating room. Why ? Because the iPad has many characteristics that make it a great an advanced surgical instrument.

First is its small size. Every modern operating room has stacks of electronic equipment hanging from the ceiling or in large cabinets for patient monitoring and controlling in-field devices. Since the iPad already supports a bevy of standard wireless communication protocols, many of these large boxes’ functions could likely be off-loaded to an iPad with clever engineering. One immediate advantage would be that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Surgery Is An Organized Chaos Of Cords, Tubes And Wires

Surgery is messy… and I don’t mean in terms of blood and guts…

What I mean are wires, cables, tubing, etc.

Electric cord for the operating tableLet’s take a routine tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy for example…

  1. Electric cord for the anesthesia machine
  2. Electric cord for the surgeon’s headlight
  3. Light cord from the surgeon’s headlight to the lightbox
  4. Breathing circuit tube from the patient to the anesthesia machine
  5. Carbon dioxide outflow tube from the patient to the anesthesia machine
  6. Suction tubing from the surgical table to the vacuum canister
  7. Vacuum cable from the vacuum canister to the wall socket
  8. Electrocautery cable (along with electric cord to power the machine)
  9. Coblation cable (along with electric cord to power the machine)
  10. IV fluids lines from patient to IV bags
  11. EKG lines
  12. Grounding pad cable
  13. All the wires and cables that go with running a computer
  14. etc. etc. etc. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

Years Of Planning And Construction Lead To A One-Day Transition

Tomorrow we’ll be far away

Tomorrow is the judgement day

Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in heaven has in store

One more dawn…

On an unrelated note, tomorrow morning at 5AM our new ER opens and the old one closes down. I’ll be there working clinically. To the degree that it doesn’t interfere with patient care, I’ll live-tweet the experience.

For those not familiar with the institution or the project — it’s a 110,000 annual visit ER closing down and reopening next door in a new, state of the art 83 bed ER, with an entire new 10-story hospital opening directly above at the same time, more or less. The logistics of the transition are pretty staggering. The ER will be the first unit to open. The old ambulance bay will have a barrier put up at 5AM and the new department’s ambulance bay and drop-off will be illuminated at that time and all new patients will go there. The staff closing out the old shop will dispo all the patients they can, and at a certain point, maybe by ten AM, any patients still in the old ER will roll across the skybridge to the new facility. We will open one cath lab and one OR in the new hospital while retaining capability at the old rooms. New patients admitted will go to the new tower and the old inpatient units will start discharging patients. By Friday, any patients still in the old tower will move across to the new inpatient units. They’ll be bringing the other ORs and interventional labs online in a stepwise fashion during the week. Interestingly, a lot of expensive equipment is being “salvaged” from the old hospital. For example, the telemetry monitors in the ICU — about half of the new ICU beds have monitors now. When a patient is discharged from the old ICU, they will take that monitor across to the new building and install it in a new ICU bed, which will only then become open for a new patient. Eventually, all the monitors will be re-installed in the new units. Elective surgeries are pretty much out this week. When everything is open we will have 16 ORs and 8 cath/vascular/EP labs with room for four more as need demands.

For the ER (and more importantly for ER patients) this will be Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

A Child’s Impression Of An Operating Room

He must have been about eight at the time. I had made the mistake of watching doctor shows on TV with him and he had probably heard my wife and I describe the challenges of my doctor lifestyle at times over dinner. For the most part, he seemed oblivious and liked the things that most young boys at that age do: sports, jungle gyms, mud, and bicycles, but he had never seen his Dad at work.

So the day came when my wife was doing errands and stopped by the hospital with the kids to drop off my pager which I had inadvertently left at home. As timing would have it, I had just scrubbed in a case, so she was kind enough to bring the pager to the electrophysiology lab control room where the technicians could retrieve it for me. My son, realizing how close he was to my workplace asked within earshot of the technician, “Mom, could I see?” She looked at the technician, and he nodded agreement. Cautiously, they entered the control room just to wave “hi” briefly through the glass. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Microsoft Kinect Helps Surgeons Review Radiology Images In The OR

2whae44.jpgEngineers at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital have been trialing a new system that uses Microsoft’s Kinect to allow surgeons to browse through diagnostic images without having to physically touch any controls. Using the system surgeons can manipulate images without losing sterility, without any assistance from a nurse or other person in the OR, all while not having to move away from the patient.

Here’s a report from The Globe and Mail:

More from The Globe and Mail: Toronto doctors try Microsoft’s Kinect in OR

Flashbacks: Microsoft Kinect 3D Camera for Hands-Free Radiologic Image Browsing;

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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How To Make Inpatient Medical Practice Fun Again: Try Locum Tenens Work

It s no secret that most physicians are unhappy with the way things are going in healthcare. Surveys report high levels of job dissatisfaction burn out and even suicide. In fact some believe that up to a third of the US physician work force is planning to leave the profession…

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Latest Cartoon

Richmond, VA – In an effort to simplify inpatient medical billing, one area hospitalist group has determined that “altered mental status” (ICD-9 780.97) is the most efficient code for use in any patient work up.

“When you enter a hospital, you’re bound to have some kind of mental status change,” said Dr. Fishbinder, co-partner of Area Hospitalists, PLLC. “Whether it’s confusion about where your room is located in relationship to the visitor’s parking structure, frustration with being woken up every hour or two to check your vital signs, or just plain old fatigue from being sick, you are not thinking as clearly as before you were admitted. And that’s all the justification we need to order anything from drug and toxin screens, to blood cultures, brain MRIs, tagged red blood cell nuclear scans, or cardiac Holter monitoring. There really is no limit to what we can pursue with our tests.”

Common causes of mental status changes in the elderly include medicine-induced cognitive side effects, disorientation due to disruption in daily routines, age-related memory impairment, and urinary tract infections.

“The urinalysis is not a very exciting medical test,” stated Dr. Fishbinder. “It doesn’t matter that it’s cheap, fast, and most likely to provide an explanation for strange behavior in hospitalized patients. It’s really not as elegant as the testing involved in a chronic anemia or metabolic encephalopathy work up. I keep it in my back pocket in case all other tests are negative, including brain MRIs and PET scans.”

Nursing staff at Richmond Medical Hospital report that efforts to inform hospitalists about foul smelling urine have generally fallen on deaf ears. “I have tried to tell the hospitalists about cloudy or bloody urine that I see in patients who are undergoing extensive work ups for mental status changes,” reports nurse Sandy Anderson. “But they insist that ‘all urine smells bad’ and it’s really more of a red herring.”

Another nurse reports that delay in diagnosing urinary tract infections (while patients are scheduled for brain MRIs, nuclear scans, and biopsies) can lead to worsening symptoms which accelerate and expand testing. “Some of my patients are transferred to the ICU during the altered mental status work up,” states nurse Anita Misra. “The doctors seem to be very excited about the additional technology available to them in the intensive care setting. Between the central line placement, arterial blood gasses, and vast array of IV fluid and medication options, urosepsis is really an excellent entré into a whole new level of care.”

“As far as medicine-induced mental status changes are concerned,” added Dr. Fishbinder, “We’ve never seen a single case in the past 10 years. Today’s patients are incredibly resilient and can tolerate mixes of opioids, anti-depressants, anti-histamines, and benzodiazepines without any difficulty. We know this because most patients have been prescribed these cocktails and have been taking them for years.”

Patient family members have expressed gratitude for Dr. Fishbinder’s diagnostic process, and report that they are very pleased that he is doing everything in his power to “get to the bottom” of why their loved one isn’t as sharp as they used to be.

“I thought my mom was acting strange ever since she started taking stronger pain medicine for her arthritis,” says Nelly Hurtong, the daughter of one of Dr. Fishbinder’s inpatients. “But now I see that there are deeper reasons for her ‘altered mental status’ thanks to the brain MRI that showed some mild generalized atrophy.”

Hospital administrators praise Dr. Fishbinder as one of their top physicians. “He will do whatever it takes to figure out the true cause of patients’ cognitive impairments.” Says CEO, Daniel Griffiths. “And not only is that good medicine, it is great for our Press Ganey scores and our bottom line.”

As for the nursing staff, Griffiths offered a less glowing review. “It’s unfortunate that our nurses seem preoccupied with urine testing and medication reconciliation. I think it might be time for us to mandate further training to help them appreciate more of the medical nuances inherent in quality patient care.”

Dr. Fishbinder is in the process of creating a half-day seminar on ‘altered mental status in the inpatient setting,’ offering CME credits to physicians who enroll. Richmond Medical Hospital intends to sponsor Dr. Fishbinder’s course, and franchise it to other hospitals in the state, and ultimately nationally.

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Click here for a musical take on over-testing.

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Latest Book Reviews

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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Unaccountable: A Book About The Underbelly Of Hospital Care

I met Dr. Marty Makary over lunch at Founding Farmers restaurant in DC about three years ago. We had an animated conversation about hospital safety the potential contribution of checklists to reducing medical errors and his upcoming book about the need for more transparency in the healthcare system. Marty was…

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