How are you influencing ER/surgical devices?
Dr. Jose Fernandez Villasenor
Global Medical Product Manager, Freescale
Surgery has come a long way. It has evolved from traditional surgery with a
scalpel to endoscopic and now to robotic and microinvasive surgery. Unlike
endoscopic surgery, a physician does not have to be on site for microinvasive
surgery. In my experience, I have been. And while this is the new face of
surgery, as a surgeon, it isn’t always the easiest. By cutting open a patient,
I’m able to get a better look and manipulate and operate more easily, but I
have to keep in mind that this may not always be ideal for the patient in terms
of their recovery and long-term prognosis.
It will only get better for patients. I see the potential
for a huge market for advanced surgery techniques with robots that provide
high-definition 3D vision and an easy-to-use interface, enabling a larger view
field, smaller surgical incisions, and a reduction in operating time, providing
the surgeon with reduced time at the hospital.
As equipment continues to benefit with the aid of constant
miniaturization, along with the high speed and reliability of today’s sensors
and MCUs, robots in medicine will become more and more a part of the modern
operating room. However, an OR will never fully be controlled by robots. As
incredible as they are, they can’t make up for the intuition and split-second
decision making provided by a real life physician. But I’m still eager to take
one for a spin!
Vice President of Quality Management and Regulatory Affairs, Pro-Dex Inc.
Pro-Dex specializes in designing and manufacturing highly reliable powered
surgical devices for our OEM partners that will increase efficiency during
surgeries and maintain reliability after repeated use. One way we help our OEM
partners achieve this is by developing smaller, more sophisticated devices that
are lightweight, ergonomic, and have a higher power density. This allowed one
customer to bring a hand piece to market that was powerful enough to bridge the
gap between different types of surgeries<—from small joint repair to larger
procedures<—and do so less invasively. Adding power (battery, electric, or
pneumatic) to certain manual devices can also make them easier to use,
automating procedures in the process and potentially saving valuable OR time.
Additionally, since Pro-Dex warrants and repairs these devices, we strive to
obtain materials, components, and methods that reduce failure rates associated
with the damaging effects of harsh hospital sterilization processes. Pro-Dex’s
goal is to meet customer specifications for reliable, high performing medical
devices that optimize the capabilities of the user and improve patient outcomes.
Medical Device Leak Testing Technical Support Manager, USON
While the high price tag for medical technology continues to grab headlines,
the REAL ways in which certain healthcare costs have declined due to technical
advances doesn’t muster the same attention, but should.
Consider someone coming to the ER with a gallbladder in need
of removal, which accounts for a large proportion of the million+ gallbladders
removed yearly in the U.S. Twenty years ago, this involved large abdominal
incisions and a hospital stay of several days. Not so today, where the lion’s
share of cholecystectomies are performed with laparoscopic instruments<—less
pain for the patient, speedy recoveries, and minimal hospital stays.
Few patients receiving cholecystectomies or their
laparoscopic surgeons realize that they need to thank NASA for making
gallbladder removal closer to a non-event. The advanced leak testers required
to ensure that trocars and other laparoscopic instruments are leak-proof in
insufflated abdominal cavities is actually a later generation of the high
accuracy and low cost leak detectors that USON first pioneered for space
flights decades ago. With Uson’s lead, what was once a “mission-critical” leak
testing requirement to get to outer space has ensured that millions of medical
devices are leak-proof that need to be, from cardiac catheters to implanted
insulin pumps to trocars and more.
President, Kleiss Gears
Emergency room equipment includes a wide variety of tools to cut, sew, drip,
and drill. Almost all of them need geared transmissions. Of course, the ER
staff can work best with the smallest, lightest, quietest, most powerful
transmission to do the job. Custom designed and molded plastic gears often fit
that bill to a T. Kleiss Gears has developed design algorithms to take
advantage of the excellent properties of plastic gears and to minimize their
weaknesses. We have specialized micro-molding equipment that enables us to mold
extremely accurate gears smaller than the eye can see. Molding the micro-gear
is only the first step. One must then measure it. We have the most sensitive
and accurate video and contact scanning CMMs to assure micro-molded quality. We
also have expertise in molding the strongest engineering polymers, such as PEEK
and LCP. Molded plastic gears are changing the landscape for functionality in
the ER. Kleiss Gears is leading this new technology.
Channel Industry Development Manager, Balluff
In the area of asset management of certain surgical devices and pieces of
medical equipment (monitors, reusable instruments/tools, respiratory therapy
equipment, pulse oximeters, sterilization carts, etc.), we have
integrated/installed small industrial passive inductive RFID tags (data
carriers) into the equipment. These RFID tags are extremely robust and durable
products that can survive wash down, many different sterilization processes,
shock and vibration. Maintenance records, serial numbers, and numbers of uses
can all be recorded onto the RFID tags and anything related to the use of the
particular E.R. or O.R. asset can be tracked and traced effectively. These
industrial systems aren’t like ones typically found in retail store-type
settings as the electronic read or read/write distances are relatively small.
When a read head comes in proximity to the RFID tag, inductive coupling occurs
and information is simply read or the function of reading and writing back and
forth to/from the code tag across an air gap is accomplished. No external
batteries are necessary in many models of the code tag, so maintenance doesn’t
become an issue. These systems are available in many application-specific
serial, parallel, or bus network formats.