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Contributing to The Evolution of Medicine with Sony’s Technology

The global COVID-19 pandemic has triggered dramatic changes in working practices of hospitals, especially strategies for treating and caring for high-risk patients. With every healthcare institution prioritizing the wellbeing of its staff, patients and visitors, we explore how Sony combines our technology to solve problems and strive for a society where everyone can live with peace of mind in the fields of diagnosis, treatment and education, help deliver improved patient care and medical education, as well as aid in transforming hospital workflows against the backdrop of heightened care needs and constrained resources.

by Leonard Yap

Real-time remote monitoring opens up new opportunities for clinical teams to assess the patient’s condition without the need to be physically present in the same room at all times. Combined with solutions that can stream vital signs, patient records and video content from other monitoring equipment, this allows nursing staff to assess the condition of high-risk patients via a networked PC, tablet device or dedicated display from anywhere on the hospital campus.

As a supplementary benefit, remote monitoring allows nurses to extend quality care to a larger number of patients without additional tasks or having to operate complex equipment. With ease of use as a key requirement in critical care environments where the focus remains on the patient at all times, hospitals can manage clinical teams’ busy workloads more efficiently. One staff member can assess several patients by video, with less time spent walking between beds in a large ward, or covering several different wards on their rounds. Further, the reduction in physical contact time between clinicians and patients can also significantly reduce infection risks and the constant need for staff to don Personal Protective Equipment that may be in limited supply.

With every healthcare institution prioritizing the wellbeing of its staff, patients and visitors, Sony’s intuitive healthcare solutions help everyone work securely and efficiently, connecting people with the right information in the right place, at the right time, as well as simplify sharing and collaboration for healthcare professionals.

Committed to help deliver improved patient care and medical education, our innovation aids in transforming hospital workflows against the backdrop of heightened care needs and constrained resources. In the fields of diagnosis, treatment and education, we are making headway on initiatives by pooling our technology to solve problems and strive for a society where everyone can live with peace of mind.


Contribution to Diagnosis

With Robotic Surgery becoming one of the fast-growing areas, Sony is working with some of the world’s leading vendors of surgical robotic systems to deliver world class imaging solutions that help teams collaborate more effectively. This is evident in our large, bright 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) displays that give everyone in the Operating Room (OR) the same heads-up view as the lead surgeon in crystal clear 3D, with an enhanced sense of depth perception and spatial orientation.

In addition, Sony’s OLED monitors for ultrasound examinations and medical printers use the advanced TV technology we have developed over the years, resulting in a monitor with deeper black levels that are not possible with conventional LCD monitors, and with wide viewability, easily visible from a variety of angles. These features have been praised by healthcare professionals for making it easier to see the contrast produced by the ultrasound equipment from any position.

Sony’s technology is also providing benefits in microsurgery. Conventional surgeries require spending long hours in the same position looking through an eyepiece, which is said to have negative impact on the body. Images equivalent to those viewed with the naked eye on an optical microscope are transmitted to a monitor using Sony’s miniaturization and 4K 3D technologies, which is expected to reduce the burden on doctors using eyepieces. In addition, sharing surgical images on a large screen monitor also contributes to team treatments.

In the areas of Endoscopy, accurate reproduction of visual information is required to assist surgeons and clinical teams. From image capture to documentation, our 4K imaging solutions bring significant performance gains to minimally invasive procedures. Our brand new 32-inch surgical monitor features powerful image enhancement technology, helping to recognize structures and colors more clearly during interventions, and our latest 4K monitors upscale full HD images to 4K ultra-HD, with visibly improved clarity and realism.

On the other hand, clear and accurate high-contrast ultrasound images are the base of any diagnosis communication and medical training in Ultrasound. Our industry-leading documentation workflow allows healthcare professionals to display, record and print high quality images with greater flexibility. We’ve optimized the design of our space-saving ultrasound printers for smooth integration on ultrasound carts with practical features like DC/AC powering and multiple signal inputs.


Contribution to Treatment

Medical treatment requires prioritizing safety above all else, while making the most effective use of medical resources. In the operating room, surgeons work with a large staff making teamwork critical, and accurate judgement calls and quick response may be necessary depending on the surgical conditions.

In Surgical Microscopy, the ability to recognize fine details in low light has always been a challenge. Drawing on Sony’s expertise in image sensing technology, our flagship HDR camera technology provides invaluable extra visual cues that perform accurately in low-light and inaccessible body cavities. Today, we are working closely with some of the world’s leading modality manufacturers to deliver total 4K and 3D imaging solutions for surgical microscopy and heads-up surgery.

Interventional Radiology equally has specific requirements to visualization technologies. Image quality, dot-by-dot reproduction, reliability and ease of operations are all priorities in today’s pressured healthcare environments. Our user-focused image sharing and documentation solutions offer seamless integration with a wide range of analogue and digital radiology imaging systems. NUCLeUS, Sony’s powerful and flexible imaging platform orchestrates the versatile distribution of live 4K and 3D videos, still images and patient data across hospital networks securely. Open and vendor agnostic, the video-over-IP platform routes live images from C-arm systems, CT or MRI systems to screens in the interventional room, doctors’ communication rooms, and other sites on campus, as well as enable live streams on mobile devices like iPads.

Flexes to meet the demand of today’s fast-changing healthcare environment, NUCLeUS comprises a growing library of smart apps that add powerful and unique image enhancement as well as efficient workflow functions. By sharing the necessary information at the appropriate timing, we are improving the overall workflow and reducing the burden on staff.


Contribution to Education

Traditionally, medical students would observe first-hand, a live surgery. While the current environment has rendered ‘in person’ teaching impractical, students can now view live surgical procedures remotely using Sony’s networked visual solutions, combining our 4K PTZ cameras with NUCLeUS, to achieve the same clarity experienced by the surgeons and their teams in the OR. In addition, utilizing state of the art conversion technology, live 4K video, audio and patient data are streamed across existing copper or fibre-based IP networks, ensuring uncompromised, low latency images without costly, time-consuming network upgrades.

Through this, collaboration is further enhanced, allowing healthcare professionals to share surgical footage, DICOM images from PACS and other visual content in meeting rooms or via remote conferencing links, re-thinking engagements between consultants, patients and other clinical team members.

Increase in information sharing, leads to a surging demand to access content within and beyond healthcare facilities while adhering to regulatory compliance and ensuring patient privacy. Sony’s NUCLeUS addresses this aspect with all video streams leaving the OR being encrypted for maximum data safety and integrity. Only authorised staff on the hospital network with appropriate access rights can view or access the patient records, configurable by utilising existing user management services.

Confronting current and future issues in medicine, Sony’s technology supports the healthcare system to bring peace of mind to patients and healthcare professionals. Sony will continue contributing to the evolution of medicine, creating new patient experience through the combination of creativity and the power of technology. [APBN]

About the Author

Leonard Yap, Head of Medical Imaging Solutions, Professional Solutions Company (PSAP) at Sony Electronics Asia Pacific.