Abbott Northwestern installs fully-integrated, voice-controlled operating room of the future

Minneapolis 07 August 2002Abbott Northwestern Hospital is the first medical institution in the Twin Cities to launch Endosuite, a fully integrated, voice-controlled operating room of the future. A key component of the Endosuite is the voice-controlled system called Hermes, Computer Motion's FDA cleared system capable of networking medical equipment in the operating room. Hermes gives surgeons direct control of surgical devices using simple verbal commands. The Endosuite will also provide surgeons with the technology to receive digital images from other sources in the hospital, including x-rays and microscopic pathology.


"Abbott Northwestern is committed to providing the community with the highest level of health care using state-of-the-art medical technology", explained Richard Sturgeon, M.D., vice president of medical affairs for Abbott Northwestern Hospital. "Our new Endosuite operating room is an obvious example: advanced medical technology for our patients, which at the same time allows us to increase the productivity of our hospital staff, improve procedural efficiency, and reduce overall operative costs. These are benefits for all of us."

Michael Schwartz, M.D., an Abbott Northwestern surgeon with General and Vascular Surgery Consultants, is one of the surgeons who will use the system when performing advanced laparoscopic procedures including gastric bypass surgery. "The features of the Endosuite will allow surgeons and operating room staff members to have more direct control over the operating room environment", stated Dr. Schwartz. "The Hermes system also allows nurses to concentrate more of their efforts directly on the patient by taking away some of the repetitive tasks commonly performed in the operating room."

Abbott Northwestern surgeons will use the new operating room for minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries including cholecystectomy or gall bladder surgery, gastric bypass, hernia repair, kidney transplants, nephrectomy, Nissen procedure, and prostatectomy.

The Endosuite operating room will be the centerpiece for Abbott Northwestern's Medical and Surgical Services Center of Excellence. With the Hermes system, surgeons will have direct control over all the medical equipment through his or her voice during minimally invasive surgeries. Abbott Northwestern's Endosuite operating room will also feature a robotic surgical arm. "This technology has the ability to transform the way surgery is performed in the future", explained Dr. Schwartz.

Stryker Endoscopy and Computer Motion Inc. developed Hermes, named after the Greek messenger god, and received 510(k) market clearance from the FDA. The Minneapolis-based Abbott Northwestern Hospital is part of Allina Hospitals and Clinics, a non-profit network of hospitals, clinics and other health care services.

Leslie Versweyveld

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