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How connected medical devices raised uptime in the OR


For Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in Northern Ireland, connected medical devices are an indispensable tool for ensuring higher uptime and availability of anesthesia machines – and for improving operation planning and care outcomes.

Brendan Kelly, critical care scientist at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, and his colleagues are responsible for ensuring the hospital’s anaesthesia machines always stand ready to perform their vital role in patient surgeries. For that Getinge Online is an invaluable aid.

Getinge Online is a digital solution that allows selected personnel to monitor and analyze equipment data from a customer web portal. Brendan uses it for his Flow-i anaesthesia machines.

The solution makes a big difference to us. In the past, if we had a technical error on an anaesthesia machine I would have to withdraw it and wait for a service technician to arrive.

Anesthesia machines perform a vital function in any operating room. Failsafe operation in the dosing of anesthetic agent and oxygen to patients before and during surgical procedures is crucial to care outcomes. “Getinge Online brings everything together in one place,” Brendan says. “I can actively track and check what’s going on with all our anesthesia machines. Access to logs and the overview I get of each machine’s status really makes my life easier.”

Rapid troubleshooting drives value

Faster troubleshooting is one of the main assets for Brendan and his critical care scientist colleagues. Should a technical error occur, the team can view technical logs in real time online rather than wait for a technician to attend and diagnose the problem.

"The ability to troubleshoot fast is hugely important for operation planning and the throughput of patients through the operating room because if you lose an anesthesia machine and the other machines are busy, you may have to postpone the operation", Brendan says.

If the error turns out to be minor, with no impact on the anesthesia machine’s functioning, the unit can be restarted with no or little downtime.

The connected medical devices have also deepened the collaboration between the hospital and Getinge. The web interface allows Brendan and Getinge’s service technicians to view technical logs remotely and simultaneously, resulting in faster feedback and problem-solving.

“In the past, the service technician had to come to the hospital to get physical access to the anesthesia machine to download logs to his laptop. Now he can do this remotely and we can look at the same things or can arrange a time that suits us to go online and have a chat. It’s a win-win,” Brendan says.

Improved efficiency and hospital service

Preventive maintenance lowers machine replacement frequency. That results in higher uptime and efficiency, as well as fewer headaches in trying to find a replacement and install it.

Overall it improves the service not only to operating rooms and clinical staff but also to patients and their families. “It helps our planning a lot,” Brendan notes. “Greater certainty further reduces any risk suddenly having to cancel lists or to phone patients to tell them we’ve had to cancel or reschedule their operation.”

Getinge Online further raises machine utilization through preventive maintenance and service monitoring. The system informs Brendan how many days remain until scheduled service, or if a maintenance check is required. This enables the machine to be kept in place longer and optimizes service and maintenance planning.

As result, Brendan says he is more confident in his role and enjoys more peace of mind. “I worry much less about having to pull a machine out and not having a replacement.”

He adds: “Getinge Online helps to keep things running more smoothly and we’re not having to swap machines in an out or potentially cancel lists or deliver anesthetic to a patient in a different way.”

Brendan says: "I worry much less about having to pull a machine out and not having a replacement."

I worry much less about having to pull a machine out and not having a replacement.

Wireless opportunities

In late 2020, the hospital will use the new wireless solution to connect their Flow Family anesthesia machines, which will increase the flexibility further. Today, the hospital’s seven Flow-i anesthesia machines share three fixed network connections, meaning only three can be connected at one time.

For Brendan and his team, the new functionality will enable all the hospital’s anesthesia units to be monitored simultaneously.

“It will make us much more flexible,” he says. “Having all the machines connected simultaneously will allow us to keep a check on them all at the same time. It will give us the complete picture.“

About Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children

The hospital is the only one in Northern Ireland dedicated specifically to the care of children. It offers general hospital care for children living in Belfast and provides most of the paediatric regional specialities for children throughout Northern Ireland.

  • No. of operating rooms: 3
  • No. of surgeries per year: 4221
  • No. of child patients per year: 7126 (admissions)

Connecting medical devices with Getinge Online

Getinge Online is a digital service that securely transfers Getinge equipment data to a customer web portal. Users log in to Getinge Online where a role-based dashboard lets you view and analyze the device data. Dashboards are available for different roles. For Biomeds and Critical care Scientists the dashboard provides equipment information that supports proactive maintenance and quick troubleshooting. For clinicians, the dashboard provides information about clinical use, including the identification of trends and consumption of anesthetic agent.

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