by Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | April 14, 2014
Without reliable templating, doctors were less confident going into surgeries-and enormous inefficiencies ranging from extra inventory at the hospitals to unnecessary sterilization of equipment followed. Think of the inefficiencies in extra sterilization alone: it costs hospitals $75.00 per instrument tray for every implant size the surgical team brings into the OR. If you don't know what size implant you need, you're going to cover all of your bases-and that will cost hospitals money and slow down surgeries and OR turnover.
In addition to squeezing out inefficiencies and improving outcomes, digital templating enables immediate and global access to the data. Hospitals are saying, "Hey, we can now collaborate together with our surgeons and implant reps to create much more efficient distribution lines that create savings for the hospitals. We can be assured we have the right product for the job."
DMN: Does templating impact patient safety in any way?
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It is well demonstrated. The more efficient surgeries translate to having patients under anesthesia for a shorter amount of time, which is a win for patient safety.
We have many stories from implant reps and doctors from various parts of the country. They tell us with this technology they can double check implant sizes as they're going into surgery, sometimes allowing them to fine-tune the procedure. For instance, they can avoid cutting out too much bone in the case of a bigger-sized implant. Too small of an implant can also be a problem, actually, because the surgeon has to fill the remaining space with more cement or what have you, depending on the product.
By really honing in on the right-size knee or hip or joint, not only the patient safety for that particular surgery but also the outcomes and the performance of the product are enhanced. Without the templating, you risk the joint instability that goes with those imperfectly sized implants; those products also break down in a shorter timeframe than the right-sized product. With templating, then, the first-time surgery is better and faster and has lower anesthesia times-but maybe even more importantly, future surgeries and the frequency of those surgeries are also mitigated and reduced.
DMN: Where are we with mobile PACS and the cloud? Where is all of that headed?
There are some very important uses for mobile technologies in PACS as many physicians in various specialties are using mobile devices in exam rooms with patients. Putting medical images in their hands can be very valuable-and not only EHR chart data, but images as well. We've had physicians putting together plans for the use of images in their exam rooms so they could perform a deeper review with patients, which would help them to increase the coding level for the encounter.