Medical Robotics Magazine

The first and only commercial feature medical robotics news magazine, founded February 2007 by John J. Otrompke, JD, consultant and publisher


Medical Robotics Magazine is the world's first and only commercial feature news magazine devoted to all aspect of the medical robotics industry- including robotic surgery, physical therapy robots, hospital orderlies, and other topics related to robotic medicine. As a feature magazine, Medical Robotics features interviews, business news, conference coverage and editorials, as well as a generous portion of articles written by noteworthy robotics surgeons as well as clinical trials reports. MR has been on-line since 2007, and first appeared in print in January of 2008 at the annual meeting of MIRA (the Minimally Invasive Robotics Association) in Rome, Italy. Medical Robotics Magazine is copyrighted, features a nascent Board of Editorial Advisors, and is indexed by the U.S. Library of Congress. All contents (c) 2011 John J. Otrompke, JD Contact: John J. Otrompke, JD 646-730-0179

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Robotic Surgery Developer Wins Microsoft Award

Early Surgical Robot Developer Behind Microsoft Award for Neonatal Technology

By John Otrompke
A system for improving health care delivery to premature babies and neonates which recently won a prestigious award issued by the Microsoft Healthcare Users Group (HUG) may have had part of its genesis in one of the first surgical robots ever developed.
The LacTrack System, designed by Neoteric Technology Ltd., won a first place award for Healthcare Innovation in the category of Delivery Transformation. The SafeLx solution was honored for preventing infant feeding errors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Toronto.
“At Sunnybrook, our technology is being used to prevent misfeeds. They operate a very large fridge for storing the mothers’ milk (which they nickname the ‘Dairy Queen,’” said Geof Auchinleck, President of Neoteric.
“We’re a regional perinatal unit where babies are ventilated, and our expertise comes in looking after particularly small ones, such as babies born under 26 weeks, who weigh under a kilo. These babies are only a little over halfway through gestation,” said Dorothy Dougherty RN lactation consultant and developmental care team leader at the 42 bed clinic.

The collaboration between Sunnybrook and Neoteric was especially important, because due to mergers, the Sunnybrook is currently housed at Women’s College Hospital, while the new unit is being built at Sunnybrook, said Doughterty, who noted that Neoteric allowed Sunnybrook to help design the system. “We’re making darn sure when move that everything has to talk to each other,” said Dougherty, adding that the clinic is actually connected to Sunnybrook electronically.

“We have been following the problem of neonatal misfeeds now for a decade,” said Dougherty. “But somehow we could never seem to prevent the errors from happening
Data from Sunnybrook indicate that between August 27 and December 5, 2007, the technology captured and prevented 168 feeding errors out of 28,000 feeds given to 175 premature patients. Each baby received 161 feeds, for a total of more than 31,000 transactions including ordering, beginning and ending feeds.

Robotic History

Part of the idea for not only LacTrack, but many of the products Neoteric offers, may have come from Auchinleck’s pioneering work in the robotics field. In 1984, Auchinleck worked on a device called the Arthrobot, which was intended to position the patient’s limb for orthopaedic surgery. Together with Dr. Jim McEwen and Dr. Brian Day, who is this year’s president of the Canadian Medical Association, Auchinleck and colleagues performed over 200 procedures with the Arthrobot.

“While the Arthrobot project ultimately morphed into software which ultimately entered the market, the endeavor led me into the realization that there were major problems and opportunities in data management in the labs that started with poor quality patient identification,” said Auchinleck. In 1997, Neoteric was founded, and today offers a suite of process management tools.

“We began to press for adoption of electronic positive patient identification, which to us means barcodes or RFID id, then added blood transfusion, mothers’ milk administration and medication administration options,” he continued.

In addition to the neonatal unit, Neoteric’s technology is widely used in managing blood transfusions. “We manage the movement and transfusion of blood in more than 80 hospitals, most in the UK and Ireland. For example, our system controls every blood unit in the city of Glasgow, also the city of Leeds,” Auchinleck said.
Neoteric uses a range of Microsoft technologies in its products, including the operating systems, as well as development and database products. “As many of our products are PDA based, we use the Windows Mobile platform as well,” Auchinleck explained.

“Yet, we were given the award because by using these tools, we have come up with products that change the way health care is delivered.”

It has even said by at least one expert that “this is the most important advance in blood transfusion in decades.”

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