Today’s operating rooms are not what they used to be. And today’s ORs are only getting more sophisticated.

That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important to keep the big picture in mind when designing new ORs in healthcare facilities. In order to have an effective and reliable space, the OR equipment, data network, and AV technology need to be thought of as inter-related parts of the larger whole, and designed as such.

One important reason for taking this approach is the increasing need for these types of spaces to be flexible, easy, and intuitive to use and operate, and future-proof. For example, there isn’t a designated AV or IT technician who’s going to be operating the equipment; nurses’ and doctors’ priorities are providing patient care, so a user-friendly system that’s easy to use during an operation becomes mandatory.

Also, the tools used by today’s medical practitioners are continuously advancing, with surgical robots and miniature scopes being just two examples of surgical technology to integrate into the OR.

AV technology being used in OR’s is also advancing. Systems are now being designed with digital video capture and audio- and videoconferencing capabilities as a base standard. And these items are not only used as diagnostic tools.

Content can now be shared by way of video streams to an educational facility or to a referring physician. To accomplish this distance communication, issues of resolution compatibility, signal transmission compatibility, network configuration, bandwidth availability, reliability, and information security all need to be addressed.

Data exchange with an electronic medical record system must also be incorporated to allow OR staff to have quick access to all necessary patient data.

Today’s operating rooms need a comprehensive, systemwide approach to integrate all of the advanced technologies being used. As technologies move forward, AV will play a growing role in the success of these facilities.

Corey Salvatore, CTS, is Senior Consultant at Acentech. He can be reached at csalvatore@acentech.com. For more information, visit www.acentech.com.