Cedars-Sinai teams with U.S. military for 'OR of the future'

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in partnership with the U.S. military, will design an "operating room of the future" that aims to enable emergency medical teams to quicken their responses to life-threatening injuries.

The project, called "OR 360," will involve technology like movable walls and equipment for flexible use and an iPhone app that provides diagnostic information about blood pressure and vital signs, according to an announcement.

The initiative draws on practices from surgery, psychology, aviation and other disciplines, and is focused on addressing potential breakdowns in trauma care that can occur in the "golden hour"--when medical attention is the difference between life or death.

"Our goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of acute trauma care in both civilian and military settings by introducing innovations in communication, technology, workflows and the way medical personnel perform their jobs," Bruce L. Gewertz, surgeon-in-chief and chair of the department of surgery at Cedars-Sinai, said in the announcement. "The quicker we get patients cared for, the better the outcomes."

OR 360 has received $3.8 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Defense. Their analysis primarily focused on things that could disrupt surgical flow, such as missing equipment, tangled IV tubes, conversations and delays in getting interpreters or specialist in the OR. Cedars-Sinai staff visited military surgical teams in the U.S. and Europe to observe their practices and learned different ways to set up trauma bays and better use technology in the OR. Some of the innovations they've introduced as a result of these visits include:

  • Color-coded trauma bays
  • Whiteboards in trauma bays that display key information about patients. This reduced the time needed to collect supplies by 15 percent and reduced the time to draw blood for first lab tests by more than 20 percent.
  • An iPhone app with patient diagnostic data
  • Conducting pre-briefings before trauma patients arrive

Similar technology in the form of a digital whiteboard system is helping the emergency department at New York-based Health and Hospital Corporation keep track of incoming patients, according to Louis Capponi, chief medical informatics officer for the system. In an exclusive interview with FierceHealthIT, Capponi said that more than 90 percent of HHC's admissions come through the ED, meaning it's vital to be as efficient as possible.

Every step in the care process produces an interface message that populates itself on the screen, Capponi said.

"What we have heard universally from the management staff is this is a tool they can't live without," Capponi said. "They can't go back to guessing what's going on."

To learn more:
- read the announcement from Cedars-Sinai

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