Westmead’s future operating rooms in good hands

Westmead Hospital’s Clinical Director of Surgery Associate Professor Andrew Brooks discusses the exciting future of digital operating rooms with Digital Health Services’ Clinical ICT Integration Lead Weis Lu.

The future is on its way with Westmead’s Central Acute Services Building (CASB) to house 25 digital operating rooms.

The digital operating rooms will use the latest technology to connect medical equipment and health systems. This seamless integration will simplify processes, save time and ultimately create better patient outcomes.

The rooms provide numerous learning and development benefits for our next generation of clinicians. They even have the ability to live-stream medical procedures to students in a lecture theatre.

Real-time learning will be embedded into everyday practice, underscoring Westmead Hospital’s prowess as a teaching facility.

Images and video can be taken during surgeries and saved directly into a patient’s electronic medical record. This uninterrupted data connectivity will improve workflows, reduce the potential for errors and facilitate long-term storage of important health information.

Digital Health Services’ Clinical ICT Integration Lead Weis Lu said system integration was critical.

“We need all our equipment and systems to talk to each other,” Weis said.

“By putting these building blocks in place, it will help create an environment where systems can be interoperable. This means a surgeon can move pendants, bring up images on the screen and even change the light settings through a single device.

“This digitised environment will streamline processes for surgeries. It will be an easier functionality like a plug-and-play situation.

“The most important part of our planning and design of the digital operating rooms is that they are future-proofed to adapt and grow with the latest technological medical advances.”

Westmead Hospital’s Clinical Director of Surgery Associate Professor Andrew Brooks said having electronic images in the theatre would be a great advantage for surgeons.

“Sometimes we take a small section out of an organ, such as a kidney, and the diseased part can be hard to find,” he explained. “In the new theatres, we can use the pathology images to help locate the exact spot in the organ.

“It also fits in with the concept of having a paper-lite health care system.”

Assoc. Prof. Brooks is excited about the advancement in teaching opportunities.

“It is a tremendous opportunity to stream operations and show people what you do in a live environment,” he said. “You can speak as you operate and explain in real time.”

Westmead Health Precinct’s Director ICT Enablement Vicki Fleming said these were the first steps in creating a digital environment.

“While we’re not yet a realised digital hospital, the technologies being implemented in the Central Acute Services Building will help facilitate the building blocks of being one step closer to that vision,” she said.