Health IT, Hospitals

Ohio State surgeon streams operation on Periscope for medical education

Dr. Timothy Miller, an orthopedic surgeon at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, streamed a surgical procedure on Periscope for medical education purposes, and he wants to do it again.

Count Dr. Timothy Miller, an orthopedic surgeon at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, among the physician fans of fast-growing, live video-streaming app Periscope.

Last week, Miller “scoped” a surgical procedure, repair of a torn Achilles’ tendon, not just to test out Periscope, but also, he hopes, to advance medical education.

“This is an opportunity for medical education to go beyond the classroom,” Miller said, particularly in this age of restricted hours for students and residents. While residents are already on duty as much as 80 hours a week, Miller believes that even established physicians could learn more from watching video on their off days.

“If you don’t take call every day, but only every other day, you’re missing half of the good cases,” he told MedCity News.

The patient gave full consent for the broadcast, the camera never showed his face and Miller never used the man’s full name, so there were no HIPAA issues, according to Miller. In fact, a local news station in Columbus, Ohio, actually interviewed the patient a few hours after surgery. “He was all for it,” Miller said.

Miller said he answered about 5-6 questions during the procedure, thanks to medical assistant who held a smartphone on a monopod and read the questions to him.

Miller invited patients and healthcare professionals who don’t spend a whole lot of time in the operating room. The patient’s mother and sister watched live from the waiting room.

About 170 viewers went in and out of the broadcast during in the 40-minute live stream, an OSU spokeswoman said. More than 800 more people watched replays during the short time it was available; Periscope archives videos for just 24 hours after live broadcasts, and only those using the mobile app can watch a replay, not those on computers.

Much of the interest came from people who did not identify themselves as physicians. “The majority of responses I’ve seen were just the general public,” Miller reported.

Media relations staff at OSU brought the idea to Miller about three weeks ago as another way to get his name out to the public, he said. OSU teams have previously recorded procedures with Google Glass and live-tweeted surgeries.

“I thought the experiment went very well,” Miller said. He plans on doing it again.

Miller said he often watches videos of surgical procedures on medical education platform VuMedi, but most of those are recorded, not live. “This is certainly the next step,” he said.

While Periscope took down the video 24 hours after the broadcast, OSU has saved a portion of the stream here (85 MB file).

Photo: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center