No area of the medical sector has remained untouched by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the past twelve months have seen the entire practice of medicine bend in once-unimaginable ways in order to resist the pressures caused by the spread of the virus around the world.
Still, hope remains clear on the horizon, and as the first wave of patients undergo inoculation in order to minimise the risk posed by this virus, we can look ahead to a new world that draws together elements of the old, as well as the new, in order to ensure a better standard of safety for millions.
The surgical world is no different. As non-essential surgeries resume, the OR will see a certain amount of normality, combined with a number of new changes and measures to ensure safety throughout this next stage of the global health crisis. Read more below.
- Widespread Implementation of Augmented or ‘Mixed’ Reality
Augmented reality has already found a home in many of the world’s more prominent and influential sectors, but there are few able to utilise it to the same extend as the world of surgery. Developing an AR system for surgeons around the world will ensure revolutionary changes, both in terms of efficiency and patient safety. Digital information can overlay the surgeon’s view, and ensure that everything they need to know, see, and access is right there in front of them at all times.
In the same way, mixed reality promises to open up entirely new avenues for surgeons, and change the face of the operating room forever more.
- Minimising OR Personnel
As we move closer to a new sense of normality following the upheaval and disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout 2020, and at least the first half of 2021, it is widely agreed that the entire medical world – and, in particular, the hospital setting – will undergo considerable changes and, in many ways, avoid returning to the ‘old ways’ altogether.
One of those areas that is likely to change indefinitely is the presence of additional personnel within the operating room. Particularly if the novel coronavirus becomes an endemic problem, returning to the usual schedule for surgeries will entail a more cautious approach in order to ensure safety for patients and workers alike.
Utilizing new technologies which enable a more self-reliant approach from lead surgeons, such as the self-retaining surgical retractor devised by www.junemedical.com and, of course, AR and MR technology, will ensure that the operating room of the 2020s sees fewer bodies, without sacrificing safety or efficiency.
- Preoperative Planning
Efforts to minimise and avoid unnecessary contact between staff and patients alike, particularly if Covid-19 becomes endemic, will extend beyond the operating room itself.
By utilising computerised technology wherever possible, and deploying it to greater effect during the preoperative phase of surgery, surgeons can minimise their need to gather together prior to a surgery, thus maintaining distance wherever it is not necessary to the success of the procedure.
This will, of course, evolve alongside the rising influence of augmented and mixed reality, and enable surgeons to enter into the operating room with a more efficient plan for the procedure itself.