by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | February 25, 2015
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
The real-time information systems provide the surgeons with access to PACS images, EMRs and lab reports while performing high-level procedures such as open heart surgery, tumor removal or neurosurgery. That enables the surgeon, radiologist and pathologist to communicate efficiently without all having to be present in the surgical suite.
Is it worth the investment?
While OR integration has its benefits, whether those benefits are worth the pricey investment is not clear. According to MD Buyline figures, automation packages range between $20,000 and $50,000, telemedicine solutions can cost as little as $30,000 or as much as $400,000 depending on whether two-way communication is added and real-time information systems can range from $20,000 to $500,000, also depending on two-way communication.
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MD Buyline has noticed that some of the prices have come down, but whether or not the buy makes sense even at the lower price point is still in question. Regardless, the level of integration that a hospital deploys should be determined by its size and what it actually needs.
A small hospital with one hybrid OR may not need high-end telemedicine and realtime information systems. “That’s probably a little bit of overkill for most of those hospitals,” says James Laskaris, emerging technology analyst at MD Buyline. “You have to think of where you can best target your money.”
But when a hospital does make the decision to purchase a full range of integration solutions, it’s imperative that those solutions work together seamlessly with the imaging equipment, surgical lights and booms. “There are so many different vendors that are working together that sometimes it can make it very difficult to get setup and work through all the issues,” says Katie Regan, clinical publication manager at MD Buyline.
In order to ensure that all of the technologies work together properly, some of the imaging vendors have been partnering with the integration system vendors. In November, Philips announced a partnership with Image Stream Medical (ISM) to integrate its imaging system with ISM’s audio and visual integration solution.
On the hospitals’ side, they must choose what vendors they want to work in the initial planning and strategy session in order to make the process smoother. The room has to be logistically designed so that there is adequate movement around the table for the imaging system, without the lights and monitors getting in the way. “They realized that you can’t take the two solutions and push them together and expect it to work well,” says MD Buyline’s Watson.