How medical displays are changing the way operating rooms work
High-end displays manufactured for the medical space
Medical imaging makes hidden information visible, and accurate diagnoses possible. In short, there are a few major treatment decisions that aren’t based on visualization technologies. Imaging technologies also help to optimize and shorten treatment. These imaging systems have an added challenge: They must withstand hospitals’ harsh cleaners, which can break down the coatings on display panels and drive up costs as the displays have to be replaced more frequently. Matthias Lubkowitz is one of the people solving that problem. He works at EIZO, a high-end display manufacturer that serves the medical space, among others.
We asked him about how imaging is changing medicine and how EIZO is building displays that can withstand a wide range of harsh conditions.
How has medical imaging technology changed in recent years?
Imaging has become central to what we refer to as the digital operating room. Images can be distributed through a video management system — video over IP is commonly used — and managed by various software packages that enable medical professionals to record, control, and store images through touchscreens. Monitor technologies have integrated 3D and 4K resolutions, and we’ve also seen the different backlight technology such as LED and OLED come into use. Operating rooms (OR) have truly become digital broadcast studios.
What are the needs of today’s operating rooms?
OR technicians need reliable products that last a long time, as replacing products can really drive up healthcare costs. This is life-saving equipment; it needs to work. We also see a lot of demand for products that are easy to use. If you think of the iPhone, just a few buttons and a touchscreen does everything you want. Famously, iPhones don’t even come with a manual. People love products that are intuitive and self-explaining. ORs today are extremely complex environments, with a lot of technology. The solutions need to be built in a way that is fully integrated, and there should be a lot of flexibility in their configuration. The touchscreen and the imaging systems need to be able to control all of the lights and cameras being used.
In the end, well-designed, intuitive, easy-to-use systems makes surgeries easier, and that helps speed recovery of patients. From the hospital’s perspective, if surgeries are easier, they may be performed faster. This might mean that the hospital can use the OR for more surgeries in a day. They may also have better turnover of bed space as patients heal faster and may not need to be hospitalized for long periods of time.
What is the future of operating room technology? And what do you think will be needed in the future?
Some of this will seem like it’s out of science fiction, but the pace of technology is unbelievable. We’ll definitely see the invention of virtual displays or roll-up displays that will be hung on the wall like a poster. Image recognition software could be developed so that the system processes what a surgeon is doing, and anticipates the next steps.
This might allow surgeons to work with smaller teams, because of efficiency gains. What’s needed in the future is an ecosystem of hardware and software developers to make this happen.
What are the most important features you need from glass and its coating for OR displays?
First, the glass and coatings must be completely disinfectable with the cleaners used in the hospital environment, which can be fairly harsh. The glass itself must be highly consistent, with an exacting production process that allows very little variation. It must also be strong.
Why did you seek out SCHOTT CONTURAN for OR displays?
Our company has very high standards for our OR wall monitors, and SCHOTT’s materials and coatings provide the quality and durability we expect. CONTURAN can withstand the harsh cleaners used in the OR and is offered in an extremely broad range of sizes, coatings, and finishing technologies. All of these features can be combined, meaning the options are very flexible.
What solution and products are SCHOTT CONTURAN glass being used in?
SCHOTT CONTURAN is used in all of EIZO’s wall-integrated OR monitors that we call Surgical Panels. These are the front end of our CuratOR solution, which, in turn, is part of EIZO’s Imaging Operating Room Solution.