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Excerpted from “Smart Healthcare was a Hot Topic at MEDICA 2017” by Lee Goldberg. Appeared first in Medical Design Technology magazine on Nov 30, 2017.

Perched on the banks of the Rhine River, Dusseldorf Germany enjoys a reputation for being a flagship city for the European fashion industry, having some of the liveliest nightlife outside of Berlin, and serving as the annual gathering spot for the MEDICA COMPAMED medical technology trade fair and conference. From November 13-16, 2017, the double event that comprised MEDICA, one of the world’s largest medical trade fairs, and COMPAMED, a global showcase for the components, materials, and technologies used in today’s medical care products, filled 16 of the cavernous halls that comprise Dusseldorf’s exhibition center.

During their four-day run, the two events played host to over 123,500 attendees and 5,100 exhibitors representing all sectors of the global medical care industry who came to take stock of the state of medical technology and share their latest developments.

AI in the OR?

Data-Driven Medicine is also revolutionizing how surgery is planned and executed, primarily through the increasing uses of operating room (OR) integration and surgical analytics. OR integration systems have been available for several years, which give surgical teams displays that combine live images, patient vitals and procedure planning information in an easy to assimilate format. Now, companies like Caresyntax are going one step further with surgical analytics solutions that converge IoT technology with healthcare analytics that provide surgical teams with deep insights on their patients, the procedures they are executing, and the overall workflow before, during and after the operation.

Powerful data analytics tools are helping surgical teams achieve greater levels of performance, efficiency, and safety. Image courtesy of Caresyntax.

Caresyntax used a simulated surgical suite on MEDICA’s show floor to demonstrate qvident, the company’s web-based performance management platform. It can manage, record, and analyze any mix of video, checklists, images, vitals data, surgical risk calculators and other forms. It also automates most of the tasks involved with clinical documentation and reporting. Qvident’s surgical analytics and root-cause identification capabilities allow teams to reconstruct intraoperative events using a continuously synchronized record of key real-time surgical data to identify factors that contributed to an adverse event, or reduced efficiency.

Some of the companies involved with OR integration and surgical analytics have begun to explore whether Artificial Intelligence could enhance their products, possibly allowing them to provide deeper insights and perhaps even serve as real-time “coaches” for surgical teams to advise them on the best way to tackle a tricky situation. Although I did not encounter an AI-based “surgical associate” on the show floor this year, perhaps we’ll see one at MEDICA 2018.