Abington Hospital Brings Telehealth to the Operating Room

Abington Hospital- Jefferson Health is now using telehealth technology to virtually connect surgeons in the operating room with remotely located colleagues and patient family members in real time. Abington is the first in the region and one of only a few hospitals in the country to implement live video conferencing in the OR. This instant audio-visual connectivity is playing a key role in the delivery of care to heart surgery patients.

Using a high-definition webcam and video-conferencing software, heart surgeons are using this technology in two ways: to connect with other surgeons across Jefferson Health during surgery and to communicate with patients’ family members soon after an operation is over.

This technology allows the surgeon to engage in critical conversations with other experts during the procedure with far fewer interruptions and without having to rely on sub-optimal audio connections to relay precise information.

The video conference platform is used to connect the operating cardiothoracic surgeon to:

  • Other surgeons who may have performed prior or similar cases
  • Cardiologists with deeper knowledge of patients or their conditions

None of these consulted individuals are required to be onsite in the operating room. In cases where a remote consult is performed immediately, Abington’s surgical teams can potentially reduce a patient’s time on bypass or under anesthesia.

Surgery updates are communicated from the operating room to the patient’s nurse and family members as they wait for their loved ones. This technology cuts the time it takes for the family to hear results from the surgeon by up to an hour. It does not eliminate the face-to-face conversation between the surgeon and the family members, but reduces the wait for the family to be able to hear news more quickly, as the surgical case is wrapping up.

According to Mauricio Garrido, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, “Bringing this technology to the OR is in line with two of Jefferson Health’s core values: putting people first and thinking differently. We take immense pride in the service we provide to families with each patient we care for. This is demonstrated, in a very real way, by ‘opening the blinds’ to the classically inaccessible sanctum of the operating room and reimagining a more respectful experience for those waiting anxiously for their loved ones.”