by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | February 25, 2015
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Smaller hospitals step up to the plate
The large teaching hospitals have been touting their flashy, high-tech equipment and cutting-edge procedures for years and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by smaller facilities who have stepped up their game as well. “They’re not willing to just stand by and let their patient base erode and be pulled away,” says MD Buyline’s Watson.
The smaller hospitals are starting to take on hybrid OR projects, but without all of the bells and whistles of a high-end solution. Both the hospitals and the vendors have determined that having all of the premier features is not necessarily required. All of the high-end imaging systems on the market are outfitted with advanced software solutions but MD Buyline has noticed that there has recently been more of an interest in systems without all of those bells and whistles.
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“I think some of the tier two hospitals may be going in and dipping their toes into the water without jumping out all the way to start with,” says Watson. “They are not just automatically going out and buying everything they possibly could ever want or need to be a hybrid solution.”
There are primarily two different types of hybrid ORs — one is primarily focused on imaging with the ability to do some surgical work and the other is a true hybrid OR that can be switched to almost any type of surgical application.
That is largely dictated by the type of table technology the hospital deploys. The imaging systems come with an imaging table that has some surgical capabilities, but not all of the functions that are required for every procedure.
But about 90 to 95 percent of the recent deals involve a traditional imaging/OR table opposed to a full-fledged surgical table, according to MD Buyline. The surgical table adds an additional $200,000 or more to the total cost of the system and most facilities are not willing to make that kind of investment.
Integrating all of the pieces
With all of the new technology flooding into the hybrid OR, managing workflow is becoming increasingly complex. That creates a great need for integrated ORs that feature a basic automation system and sometimes more advanced integrations including telemedicine and real-time information systems.
Many hospitals deploy one of the automation packages that manufacturers offer in order to link all of the OR equipment to one central device. It enables the surgeon to operate the equipment through voice commands or a remote control panel.
Most of those systems also offer some level of teleconferencing capabilities. Telemedicine is a growing area, but it’s generally the bigger hospitals most interested in it right now, according to Maquet’s Browne. The large teaching hospitals are going so far as to stream live procedures in lecture halls to educate their students.