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Recording, viewing devices enhance surgical workflow


The combination of camera and recorder products is designed to capture and record ophthalmic procedures for an enhanced surgical workflow.

By Nancy Groves; Reviewed by Matthew Chang, MD

A pair of surgical recording and viewing devices (Sony Electronics Medical Division) can improve workflow during ophthalmic surgery.

Matthew Chang, MD, who is in a multispecialty ophthalmology practice in Colorado Springs, CO, said he has used the company’s cameras with the surgical microscope while performing anterior segment procedures for over a decade and has been pleased with the results. After replacing an older camera with the latest generation earlier this year, the improvement in technology was apparent immediately, he noted.

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“I was blown away by the clarity of the images,” he said. “The quality with today’s monitors is exceptional, especially for the modest price of the camera.”

With the images produced by the new camera, his surgical technician can also readily know exactly where he is during a procedure and anticipate his needs. She, too, was struck by the clarity, quality, and revelation of detail attained with the new camera, Dr. Chang said. He also noted that the camera was easy to set up right out of the box.

How workflow enhanced

The company has tapped into more than a decade of experience with recording and view-ing products to introduce new features that will enhance workflow, according to Evan Krachman, marketing manager and new business development manager at Sony.

The medical video camera (MCC-500MD) features the latest-generation, image sensor technology for better low-light sensitivity than traditional one-third-sized, image sensor technology for superb image reproduction capability, he noted. The technology also offers HDMI, HD-SDI (1080P), S-video, and composite connectivity options. Multiple views are possible in the operating room since all outputs are active simultaneously. The camera can be paired with a recorder (HVO-550MD)-featuring MPEG-4 recording, USB connectivity, and network recording capabilities-to capture full-HD quality surgical video.


“We’ve been making digital capture systems since 2001; this is the fifth-generation system introduced to the surgical marketplace,” Krachman said. “We’ve learned a lot over the last 13 years making medical devices, listening to surgeons, having them tell us what features they want and being able to translate these features to help improve workflow.”

In the surgical setting, the procedure is the top priority, while recording video is secondary, and no one on the team wants to spend time on a complicated set-up. With earlier versions of the technology, it was necessary to enter a patient ID to start the recorder.

“With this new one, you just hit record and it automatically assigns an ID. You can start working right away and not have to go into any detail to start the system,” Krachman added.

“We’ve also learned that a lot of physicians like to be able to view the footage that they’ve recorded right after the case or at the end of the day,” he said. “Instead of having to jump through several different menus, this new recorder has a simple playback feature. If you want to see what you recorded last, you just hit the play button on the recorder, and there’s the last session that you recorded.”

In addition, surgeons often like to take video with them. The ability to record on a USB jump drive or a hard drive has been available on all of the company’s recorders and has been implemented into the latest model as well. The surgeon can simultaneously record on the hard drive and on a personal jump drive.

“The idea is to make it simple to record and then walk out of the room with the recording,” Krachman said.

The recorder’s 500GB internal hard drive will store up to 85 hours of HD video with easy access to previously recorded cases.


Having a back-up plan

If a physician realizes mid-case that someone has forgotten to start the recorder, the new technology can partially remedy that due to a function that constantly records 5 seconds of video in a buffer any time the system is turned on, even if it wasn’t set to record.

“That’s a really nice feature to have on these units,” Krachman said, noting that even the extra few seconds could capture valuable information.

The system is also designed to accommodate older technology. Many ophthalmic centers still have legacy equipment, such as older monitors that are not high definition or moni-tors in remote locations. To address that situation, the new recorder will record in HD but will output to older standard definition monitors.

“Anyone in the staff outside of the operating room can also be monitoring and anticipating the needs of the doctor and staff during the operation,” Krachman said. “It’s the latest technology but it also works well with some of the installed equipment that’s already there. It’s not necessary to replace every monitor in the facility.”


Compatibility for end user

The availability of a camera and video recorder from the same manufacturer is an advantage to customers, said Niall Byrne, national sales manager at Prescott’s Inc., which sells reconditioned medical and surgical equipment, including audiovisual devices.

“When you have two pieces that are intended to work in conjunction with each other, coming from the same manufacturer and designed by the same people, it’s obviously a benefit to us and to the end user,” Byrne said, adding that subtle compatibility issues can occur with audiovisual products from different manufacturers even when the input and output connections are the same, due to differences in the software.

“You want things to be as simple as an on-off switch, and [this] is one of the few companies that is making both the recorder and the camera,” Byrne added.

According to Krachman, prices for the new products are competitive.

“The new camera model that we just brought out is actually lower priced than the unit we brought out 9 years ago that was only a standard definition recorder,” he said. “We wanted to offer very good value to our customers. To get higher quality, you shouldn’t have to pay higher prices. We were very conscious of that with both the recorder and the camera.”

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