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Archive July 2016 XVII, No. 7

Decisions, Decisions: Sorting Through Your Options in Surgical Video

It's hard to pick the best surgical video system when the technology keeps changing.

Kendal Gapinski

Kendal Gapinski, Contributing Editor


HD video system TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS Physicians at the Weston (Fla.) Outpatient Surgical Center use the HD video system chosen during their recent trial.

Surgical video is advancing at warp speed. The cameras and monitors that were gee-whiz yesterday are ho-hum today. "By the time the technology gets on your facility's floor, there's already 15 other systems that have better, more advanced technology than what you just chose," says Randy Huffman RN, MSA, CMPE, administrator of the Weston (Fla.) Outpatient Surgical Center.

With new developments in surgical video outpacing your ability to afford — and maybe even need — them, it's difficult to know when's the right time to pull the trigger on new equipment. If you're anything like the 68 readers we surveyed, you're sticking with your current video setup for 5 to 10 years before you replace it. And during that time, your docs are likely telling anyone who'll listen about the latest big and bright (and pricey) cameras and monitors they need to have in their ORs. But with these new platforms seemingly arriving every few months, how can you possibly keep up? To help you get a grip on what's worth the splurge and what you can wait to purchase, here is what some of your colleagues who've recently held trials are saying about the latest technologies.

4K is on the way
Promising brighter, clearer images, 4K is making a splash in the surgical video world. The technology has 4 times the resolution and depicts more true-to-life colors than full 1080p HD video. But facility managers don't seem convinced of the need to upgrade to 4K just yet. Our survey found that only about 9% of respondents have adopted 4K or are planning to this year, while 59% say it's something they might consider down the road.

Though more than 70% agree that 4K has the potential to improve visualization and increase surgeon satisfaction, managers are still hesitant. With few vendors offering "full 4K" systems — which include both monitors and cameras that capture the ultra high-definition images — many say they're holding off until competition increases and prices start coming down.

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