Medical informatics - A catalyst for operating room transformation

Michael N. Minear, Jeff Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


For many years, computers have supported complex clinical ancillary functions such as the laboratory, radiology, endoscopy, and others. Digital computers have been successfully incorporated into specialized clinical instruments to offer advanced digital devices such as fetal monitors, heart monitors, and imaging equipment. But these devices are often not fully integrated with clinical management and operational systems. Beyond ancillary department applications, the result of almost 30 years of trying to automate the clinical processes in healthcare is large investments in both computer systems and paper medical records that have resulted in paper-based, computer-assisted processes of care. This expensive combination of partial clinical automation and archaic paper-based support processes is a major obstacle to improvements in care delivery and management. The need to use software, informatics, and standards to help manage the operating room and perioperative processes of care is significant. The potential to reduce adverse events, cost of care, and to enhance the quality of care are real and worth attaining. This paper focuses on what medical informatics improvements are needed to support improvements in surgical care and to assist in the management of the highly complex operating room and perioperative care process, and proposes research priorities in these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Laparoscopic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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