We recently spent some time with Marc Monsell who manages the theatres here at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Marc talked to us about what it means to have fully digitised theatres.
What is so special about the theatres at Lifehouse?
Marc: It’s a brand new facility so everything is state of the art. When we were commissioning the theatres we spoke to a lot of different specialists in different areas to pick the best equipment. So it was a consultative process where we had lots of people in and looked at lots of different vendors and then went for the best possible option. We were able to get really high tech, cutting edge equipment, the best of the best for our patients.
The theatres are fully digitised; what sets them apart from your average operating theatres?
Marc: We have a lot of computer systems within the operating theatre and that means that a lot of the documentation is electronic. The benefits of this are that patient information can be accessed from around the hospital and reduces the need to go through paperwork to find the information you need. We put all of our theatre data straight into a system live as the patients are on the operating table, so that means we can go back later and review data and run reports to look at things like utilisation and efficiency within the operating theatre.
Can you talk a little bit about some of the outstanding surgical equipment inside the operating theatres?
Marc: In each of our operating theatres we have the Storz OR1 System which is a theatre management system, but it includes the theatre lights, the endoscopes and the cameras. Images from surgical procedures can be displayed on screens around the theatre. It can actually be shown in teaching rooms around the hospital as well. If a Lifehouse surgeon is leading some training and they don’t want too many people in the operating room, people can be watching the surgery in one of the education centres.
We have a brand new surgical robot, the da Vinci Xi dual console system, which is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. We’ve also got two Leica microscopes which were the first of that type in Australia. They were chosen by the surgeons. They trialled them and thought they would be the best option for surgery at Lifehouse. Not only can you have three surgeons working around the microscope but it can also be beamed up on to the other screens in the room, so other people involved can watch what’s going on. It’s a really great system.
What are the benefits of these theatres for both patients and medical staff?
Marc: Patients are getting the best technology and the newest equipment. The theatres are a really nice working environment for the surgeons and nurses. They are full of light and have windows. This may seem such a trivial feature but being able to see some natural light and see what the weather is doing really improves the working environment. Patients always comment on how nice and bright and open the theatres and corridors are, it puts them at ease.