C�ILTON MEDICAL CENTER ����D��� A��T�R�ST�C C��T�RE ��TH RO�OT�CS
In �00� , as part ofits commitment to bringing the latest technology to asmall hospital , Atlantic �ealth System ’ s Chilton Medical Center started using the Da Vinci Si robot . It was agreat improvement to laparoscopic surgery �an operation performed inthe abdomen or pelvis using small incisions with the aid of acamera �and allowed for ashorter recover time , faster return to work , less pain and lower reliance on narcotics .
But in May , the hospital ’ s operating room capability took a leap tothe next level with the use of its Da Vinci �i , the next generation of robotics . “ It has abetter camera and longer instruments , and it can beused alot longer , soitlowers costs ,” says Dr . Ebube Bakosi , general surgeon , Chilton Medical Center , and its director of robotics . “ It ’ s almost like you took asurgeon , miniaturized him and put him in the body toget everything done ,” hesays . The improved technology , says Bakosi , allows the doctor more flexibility to work in different parts of the abdomen and pelvis , identify and seal vessels , see blood flowing through tissues , and staple incision sites .
And the process isminimally invasive , he adds . “ I was working on acomplicated inflamed gallbladder , and if the surgery had been laparoscopic , Iwould have had to revert to open surgery to get it done ,” hesays . But instead ofhaving to make abig incision calling for afive-day recovery in the hospital , the procedure could bedone onanoutpatient basis .
�aving the advanced technology inthe hospital allows surgeons to use it on elective cases between �a . m . and 5p . m ., but the goal istodeliver the care �4�� , he says . “ We want to use it in emergency surgery , sowegive better care no matter what the time ,” says Bakosi . The entire staff , including surgeons , nurses , scrub technicians and anesthesiologists are currently being trained towork with the Da Vinci �i . “ We ’ re pushing the operating room into the next generation ,” he says .
There ’ s a saying among neurosurgeons : “ Time is brain .” To make it faster for radiologists and other members of its stroke team to identify life-threatening blockages in the brain , St . Joseph ’ s �ealth has recently started using artificial intelligence in its diagnostic imaging .
“ Someone has a CT ( computed tomography ) scan of the head , and we run software at the same time that interprets the images ,” says John �art , executive director of the medical center ’ s radiology and oncology services . “ If an image looks funky �like there ’ s ablockage inone of the major arteries leading tothe brain �the software sends out notices and images to the stroke team ’ s mobile devices . In seconds , eight or nine people get aheads up and can text each other and say �This is astroke , and we need to assemble and get to the hospital now .’”
�e says that machines learn tounderstand images the same way humans do� just as babies see faces and learn to recognize happy ones , machines see patterns in CT scans and apply algorithms to identify when arteries aren ’ t filling up properly . “ This is happening even before the radiologist has seen the images ,” says �art . “ �adiologists read 100 exams a day , and now each exam could have 1,000 or more images . It ’ s a big work day , and they get fatigued . AI doesn ’ t get tired or distracted . It ’ s a second set of eyes .”
St . Joseph ’ s �ealth iscurrently piloting AI software that detects pulmonary embolisms ( free-flowing blood clots that usually start in the legs and travel to the lungs ). �art says that over the next two months , AI software will also be applied to “ more subtle findings ” such as hairline fractures of the ribs and cervical spine , and to detect free air in the abdomen that might signal a perforation . “ AI can help with cancer detection , in pharmaceutical areas , even with ambulances gauging the quickest route to the hospital ,” he says .“ AI will never replace a radiologist , but a radiologist using AI will probably be the future .”