Hospitals

Patients are part of the flight crew in new OR checklist system

The surgery checklist system Parallax Enterprises is building goes beyond the operating room to include the patient as a co-pilot as part of the whole experience. Founder and CEO Dr. Jeff Woolford just gave the go ahead for the software team to start coding the software that will power the CHaRM Heads Up Display system. […]

The surgery checklist system Parallax Enterprises is building goes beyond the operating room to include the patient as a co-pilot as part of the whole experience.

Founder and CEO Dr. Jeff Woolford just gave the go ahead for the software team to start coding the software that will power the CHaRM Heads Up Display system.

The patient side of the system includes a web site to collect medical information before and after surgery. The patient enters medical history before going in for surgery and answers 10 questions. The software calculates a health literacy score for the patient. The doctor can use the score to make sure she is not talking down to the patient or talking over the patient’s head.

The patient uses the same web site to report any continuing or new symptoms after the surgery.

The literacy score shows how thoughtfully this system has been built to reflect the reality that what happens outside the hospital is just as important as what happens inside it. The really cool part for doctors is new operating room experience.

Parallax is building a heads up display that mimics what a fighter pilot sees on the canopy of a plane. The software creates a new way to track the patient’s vital signs and the progress of the surgery.

“The CHaRM unit is mounted underneath the bed and an arm comes around near the patient’s head,” Woolford said. “There is a small screen about the size of a laptop and a camera mounted underneath that.”

The CHaRM heads up display uses gesture technology so that the surgeon can work through the checklist while remaining sterile. The same checklist – as well as patient allergies, vital signs, and current medications – is displayed on a large screen for everyone in the room to track.

Another goal of the system is to make it easier for support members of the surgery team to get up to speed right away.
“Sometimes when a new scrub tech comes in, it takes 5 minutes or so to get spun up,” Woolford said. “With the system the team members can see precisely where the doctor is with no break in consistency.”

Parallax is creating basic checklists that doctors and hospitals can customize to fit personal preferences and standard care practices.

The first version of the software will not incorporate EMR data, but Woolford said he would like to get that information as well as radiology images added in a later version.

Anticipating some resistance to new technology in the OR, Woolford said he plans to pitch his new system to residents and young doctors.
“Pilots wanted nothing to do with crew resource management technology initially, they didn’t want a camera in there either,” he said. “I’m shooting for residents and fellows who will naturally get it. And, patients get to vote with their feet, of course.”

Woolford is planning for an end-of-summer beta launch with at least one Baltimore hospital. Parallax will be in the Innovation Showcase at ENGAGE and may have a first look at the system to share.

Amadeus Consulting is building the software for Parallax and holds an equity stake in the company.

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