Latest & Greatest 2018-04-30T14:34:50+00:00

 Latest and Greatest

Improving patient safety and preventing medical errors are some of the most important advantages of adopting new technology in health care. Since opening its doors in 1879, UAMS has remained at the forefront of medical engineering and health technology, enabling world-class health care for all patients, including those with the most complex and challenging medical conditions. 

 Melissa Fontaine Dick Pierson
 Dr. I. Dodd Wilson (center) and Dr. Graham Greene (right) discuss the da Vinci Robotic Surgery System with Dr. Rabii Madi.

Operating Suites One of the most impressive advances in the new hospital is the addition of nine innovative operating suites. The suites also are   equipped with an integrated imaging system that allows surgeons the ability to communicate with staff not present in the operating room, such as pathologists.

“The imaging system has the ability to route images from the lab to monitors in the operating room, » allowing the surgeon and pathologist to see and discuss the tissue sample or tumor in real time,” said Anna Williams, director of surgical services. “Without this system, pathologists have to call the OR and explain what they see in the microscope, without the surgeon being able actually to see the sample,” Williams said.

Another advantage of the imaging system is gained at the operating room control desk. The ability to bring images from each operating room allows monitoring of surgeries in progress, enhancing efficiency in patient flow through surgical services.

“A lot has to happen in a timely manner, and the ability to minimize distractions and interruptions allows the surgical team’s focus to remain on the patient,” Williams said.

UAMS also offers patients an alternative to conventional open surgical procedures with the da Vinci Robotic Surgery System. Select physicians at UAMS are now using the da Vinci Surgical System for a growing number of minimally invasive procedures and treatments, including prostatectomy, hysterectomy, gynecological cancer and colon cancer.

By integrating robotic technology with the surgeon’s skill, the da Vinci System enables surgeons to perform precise minimally invasive surgeries with unparalleled accuracy. Surgery with da Vinci Robotic Surgery promotes faster healing, rapid recovery, less pain and shorter hospital stays.

Interventional Radiology UAMS’ interventional radiologists have led the way in creating, evaluating and refining interventional procedures. This medical field combines specialized instruments and devices with systems that form images of the body to enable doctors to perform image-guided procedures.

“We are doing minimally invasive procedures to treat all forms of vascular and organ disease,” said Ed Strauss, Interventional Radiology manager. “By this avenue of treatment, it saves the patients a major surgery and extended hospital time.”

Interventional Radiology includes the latest radiology imaging technology, including the new Philips Biplane. This two X-ray tube technology enables doctors to achieve excellent clinical and economic outcomes consistently.

“The 3-D capability of the Biplane allows doctors and technologists to manipulate the images, giving them the ability to choose the best view for treatment,” Strauss said.

The Biplane also enhances patient and staff safety by eliminating the need to reposition the patient multiple times, thus reducing X-ray time. The Biplane is located in one of five angiography suites that house radiology imaging technology. Interventional Radiology Service also will include two single-plane radiology imaging machines, an additional Biplane, a CT scan suite, a multipurpose X-ray system and a minor procedure room.

Interventional Radiology shares more than 8,100 square feet of space with surgery and cardiovascular divisions and occupies the entire second floor of the new hospital. The space also includes 22 pre-op and 22 post-op rooms. “In interventional medicine, we have the ability to diagnosis and treat the patient instead of referring the patient back to another clinical service,” said Strauss. “That’s what interventional means — to treat.” 

Communication Technology

Cardiovascular Medicine The Cardiovascular Center includes a new Cardiac-Cath Lab that deals with various types of cardiac issues, including diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease. The lab also conducts radiofrequency ablations of areas of the heart causing irregular heartbeats as well as pacemaker placement and treatment of pulmonary functions.

The cardiovascular center also has a new electrophysiology (EP) suite in which procedures such as risk factor analysis and device implants occur. “We are especially pleased about the new hospital; cardiovascular is one of many departments that will benefit from our new environment,” said Dr. David Rutlen, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

The center includes a hybrid lab, which combines the procedures of the Cath Lab and the EP lab. By having a hybrid lab, doctors have the ability to perform cardiovascular interventions and certain surgical procedures simultaneously.

“Dual labs will prove beneficial to our patients and to recruitment of new physicians,” said Rutlen. “Hybrid labs are being implemented at few places in the country. Some coronary vessels can be treated best with angioplasty and some better with bypass, but a hybrid procedure room would allow optimization of treatment for each vessel.”

With new systems in place, cardiologists have the ability to access the heart vessels and arteries at the same time. “The ability to intervene and obtain one-time access is extremely beneficial to the patient,” said Celeste Bryson, clinical services manager. Shorter procedure time also translates to an increase in volume. The cardiovascular division expects a 20 percent annual increase, Bryson said.

The Future of Technology at UAMS At UAMS, patient safety has the highest priority. “For us to adopt a new technology, it must also have a patient safety benefit,” said Dr. Nicholas Lang, chief medical officer of UAMS Medical Center.

With an electronic medical records system already in place, hospital leaders plan to take the next step in 2009, which is electronic documentation. With electronic documentation, doctors and nurses type notes directly in the computer, a process that decreases errors and increases legibility.

In spring 2009, UAMS will launch a barcode medication system to improve the accuracy of medication administration. A computer will check a patient’s I.D. based on a barcode on his or her arm band. Next, the computer will confirm the patient I.D. and medication or set up a flag indicating that the nurse cannot continue. This will protect the patient from receiving the incorrect medication or incorrect dose.

“We are going to be a safer organization for our patients. Everything we do is driven by that goal,” said Lang. “Efficiency is not the key driver; safety is the key driver. We can tolerate a reduction in efficiency if we gain an improvement in safety.”