6 Tips for Using Video Chat in an Operating Room

Posted by Matt May on Wed, Jun 04, 2014

video chat operating room

Over the last couple years, we’ve seen our customers do incredible things for their businesses by implementing video in the operating room. The use of real-time video chat in the operating room is a global trend that’s accelerating. But how do you actually use video in an OR? We’ve made a list of six tips that we’ve learned from observing thousands of video sessions in the OR.

1. Respect patient privacy. Transmitting patient health information (PHI) requires that your conduit be HIPAA-compliant. Unless you’re using a robust, HIPAA-compliant infrastructure, ensure that no PHI is sent over your video chat. Remember this when pointing your camera at screens that could contain patient information, or near the surgical table as the patient is being prepped.

2. Have multiple network sources available if possible. Operating rooms (especially those that are lead-lined) may dissipate Wifi signals as they pass into the room. By having multiple network sources available, you will increase the chance that you can get a reliable signal. A personal Wifi hotspot placed in a location with a good 3G/4G/LTE signal can alleviate this problem.

3. Help surgical staff become comfortable with the use of video. While video chat has been around for over 50 years now, surgeons and their staff are typically not used to seeing video chat in the OR. When issues arise, phone calls have been the de facto standard. Help surgeons and staff become comfortable with video chat by introducing your application to them outside of surgery. Allow them to see the application in use and understand the purpose of its use in surgery (and what advantages it provides over phone support). If possible, let your surgeon and surgical staff know prior to using video chat during a case that you may be using it.

4. Test before first use. Using video in the operating room has unique requirements (Internet access) that are different from those for cell phones. In some cases, you may be able to use video chat in a location where cellular reception is not available (due to Wifi access). In other cases, the converse may be true: you may be unable to use video chat in a location you can make cell phone calls from. By testing in the operating room before your first live use, you can increase the certainty that your video call will connect when you need it to. You'll also help yourself become more comfortable and familiar with your video application, which is essential.

5. Use video outside of live surgery. When you begin using video in the operating room, you can harness real benefits above and beyond what phone product support offers. But it's also true that you (and your colleagues) are likely more familiar and comfortable with phone calls. By using video chat in less mission-critical situations, you can increase your comfort level and begin to understand the differences between cell phone and video chat use. Call your friends, your family, and your colleagues using video chat. Over time, you will find that your comfort level drastically increases.

6. Have a pitch. The first time you use video chat in an operating room, your colleagues will probably take notice. What are you using that for again? Develop a short (10-15 second pitch) that explains what it is, how you're using it, and what the advantages are. While most people are familiar with video chat, most surgeons and surgical staff are not familiar with its use in the operating room. Have your short pitch down and it will help those around you become champions for video chat, too. If you're interested in beginning to use video chat in the operating room, visit limeapp.me today and register for the Lime App by Vipaar private beta.

Tags: tips, video chat, operating room


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