Public Release: 

Barrow's new technology permits global consultations during surgery in real time

St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center

The world-renowned Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix has installed a first-of-its-kind, real-time, tele-presence video-conferencing system that will have far-reaching implications for patient care, medical education and medical product development.

With generous philanthropic support from Karl and Stevie Eller, Barrow recently designed and constructed the MedPresence Conference Room, a cutting-edge "immersion conference/classroom" that allows individuals to view neurosurgery from multiple vantage points (including the surgeon's point of view). The system also allows for dialogue among individuals in the operating room, the conference room, and remotely connected parties. Life-size video and synchronized audio in the conference room give participants the realistic sense that they are actually in the OR with the surgery. Users of the system have said "it is better than being there."

"This system provides a revolutionary advance in medical education and surgical decision making," says Dr. Robert Spetzler, neurosurgeon and director of Barrow Neurological Institute.

The new technology will be used for a variety of important purposes, including:

  • Physician consultations. If a Barrow physician is traveling and needs to consult on a patient case, the physician can observe the surgery, including everything that is going on "under scope," in real time and provide on-the-spot consultation.
  • Case Review. Physicians from anywhere in the world may send case history and radiological images of their patients to be reviewed "on daily rounds" by a multi-disciplinary group of Barrow physicians in the MedPresence Conference Room.
  • Medical education. From inside the conference room or from a remote location, students can observe surgery from a variety of angles and talk to the surgeon. Multiple screens within the conference room give students the ability to "pull up" reference images of the brain, including 3-D moving illustrations, and compare them to the images they are seeing from the actual surgery. Barrow physicians will also have the capability to present live surgical cases to international neurological conferences taking place throughout the world.
  • Product development. Through this system, medical technology companies will be able to directly view the use of the latest technology in a world-class clinical setting, leading to faster and more efficient delivery of technology from the design to the development phase. Barrow partners will also have the unique opportunity to showcase their products to clinical sites around the planet.

Destiny Conferencing co-developed the room with input from Barrow physicians. Sister company MedPresence will continue development of the system, and market it to other hospitals and medical schools.


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