Pulling Ideas from Operating Rooms of the Future

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Imagine rolling into an operating room as a patient with your eyes closed, and suddenly opening up to see a Jetson-like room, filled with robots, digital screens, and interactive media sources. All of this can be seen at the new $1.5 Billion UCSF Medical Center which will be taking its first patients on Feb. 1st, 2015. In addition to the new age gadgets, this hospital has also set aside 4.3 acres of green space, and 1.2 acres of rooftop gardens to help connect patients to the healing power of low-level stress. As Sam Hawgood, the chancellor of UCSF stated, “the healing power… extends beyond the hospital’s walls”, which will help alleviate anxiety for all who are involved in post-operative stays.

All of that technology and Zen-type space is nice, yet the majority of hospital’s budgets are not capable of producing such ORs and subsequent amenities. However, particular aspects of the communication and patient stress levels should be duly noted. These could be instituted at a low cost in almost all hospitals. Let’s explore the options.

The first option a hospital can try to emulate is in the advancement of communication. Some futuristic OR’s are equipped with a "wall of knowledge", that helps showcase a range of patient information and surgical milestones on multiple high-definition video screens. Why is this important? It is important because it opens up information that normally is siloed to a select few during the operation. Now communication can flow across surgeons, anesthesiologist, and nurses about all parts of the surgical process.

Once the patient is post-operation, a hospital can help begin the healing process by lowering the amounts of stress for the patient and his/her family. When stress levels are low, a psychosocial therapeutic environment is created. Noise level, space accommodation, and scenic areas are just a few aspects that can help take the patient’s mind off of the typical busy brick and mortar feeling inside the hospital. In recent years, many studies have been done on this topic, and a large majority agrees healing is directly correlated with the features mentioned above.

With all that in mind, how can those aspects be implemented without incurring high-costs? That is a question that each hospital must ask itself based on available information and space. We would love to know how your hospital plans on building these aspects in the future. Feel free to let us know in the comments below!

Kevin O'HaraComment