The surgical industry is hardly a stranger to new technologies – all promising to help you care for patients. Marc Schlessinger, RRT, MBA, FACHE, a senior associate at ECRI Institute, and Marie Paulson, MS, BSN, RN, CNOR, a regional perioperative director at Kaiser Permanete, shared how and when they think your facility should invest in these innovations.
After recognizing most of the studies proving the efficacy of these systems are funded by manufacturers, Schlessinger and Paulson said with the proper training facilities could benefit from these devices, which disinfect with ultraviolet light or hydrogen peroxide vapor. The key is to make sure a use plan is established before the devices are purchased and a schedule is established.
The duo expressed concerns about the mostly unregulated territory, citing a lack of clinical data and clinical expertise, with some special exceptions. They stated it also is too expensive to be mainstream at this point. They recommend keeping an eye on the industry, as it hold potential, and evaluating how 3D printing could improve outcomes before making the investment.
Finger Tip Surgery
These devices bring science-fiction to the OR with a stretchable electronic sensor replacing scalpels. A high frequency current could be transmitted through a battery worn on the surgeon’s wrist to the fingertip sensor, which could allow the surgeon to cut the tissue. This technology is still in development, and won’t be available anytime soon.
The eyeglasses released a few years ago that brought patient information to the surgeon’s eyes during a procedure have been proven to increase efficiency, but issues like patient privacy and safety persist, along with technical glitches. For now, Schlessinger and Paulson suggested keeping an eye on research as it comes out and collaborating with IT teams to see what types of programs are realistic.
With the recent release of gastric balloons and other devices, like nerve blockers and barriers, in addition to increasing obesity numbers, these experts say anti-obesity devices are something to monitor. So far, the trials for these devices have been small, but patients have experienced weight loss. Bariatric departments need to consider if they want to implement approaches including these new devices, and if so, how these new approaches should be structured, they said.
This low-intensity electrical charge releases silver ions from orthopedic implants to kill bacteria. Ideally, it would help reduce surgical site infections, but the idea is still being experimented with.
Fecal Microbiota Therapy
The concept may not be appealing, but Schlessinger and Paulson pointed out once more data is collected this therapy could help treat Colitis and Crohn’s disease. The process includes transplanting fecal bacteria from a healthy person into a sick person to help the patient replenish their microbial diversity.
Artificial Pancreas Device System
Centers have started using these systems, which were introduced a couple years ago, to help manage blood sugar levels in diabetics. The experts say these devices work, but facilities need to be aware of the support they need to provide patients, such as making a trained diabetes team member available 24 hours a day.
Cell phones, fiber internet connections and more have led to the growing conversation around telehealth. There are still questions, like how reimbursement and physician licensure will be structured, but Schlessinger and Paulson say facilites need to do three things:
- Figure out what community needs cannot be met by the healthcare facility
- Look at the telehealth marketplace to see what various platforms offer
- Plan how and which clinical staff will monitor steps expected for various scenarios
If a facility still thinks telehealth is a good solution, then it can tackle other challenges, like if wearable sensors or apps should be included in their telehealth program.