In 1996, the National Hospital established a specialized centre for minimal invasive therapy in Oslo. The Interventional Centre was founded to develop new image guided surgical procedures and revolutionary treatment strategies, as well as to perform comparative and cross-disciplinary research between traditional methods and innovative techniques based on advanced technology. In essence, the centre functions as an experimental laboratory to study in depth the impact of medical information technology on the social, economical and organizational aspects of modern health care. In the autumn of 1999, the National Hospital will be moving to a newly built complex where all the required facilities are provided to host both of Interventional Centre's fully merged operation theatres and radiology suites.
The Interventional Centre can dispose of all the latest novelties in medical equipment, such as the integration of two complete operating rooms. The combined radiology and surgery suite has been fitted out to perform all types of radiological and videoscopic interventions. At the centre, an X-ray C-bow and table are installed with a swivelling device in the floor to lift the table out of the C-bow for the operations during which X-ray is not required. Two X-ray monitors are mounted on rails in the ceiling while the remaining ECG and blood pressure monitors are placed on racks. In addition, two video cameras are permanently present in the operating theatre, one in the ceiling directly above the table, and another one in the corner of the room. They can be remotely controlled from the communication room.
No less than eight video channels and a sound intercommunication system lead from the interventional suite to the video room. This enables the staff to transmit images from endoscopy, X-ray, ultrasound and other modalities to the communication room. The second operating room has an open Magnetic Resonance Imaging unit, along with equipment for videoscopic and thermal surgery. In order to avoid interference by the magnetic field and thus reduce imaging artefacts, the electronic devices are placed outside the theatre with cables for energy transmission drawn under the floor. Also in this room, two cameras are permanently present with a third one placed inside the magnet to monitor the operating field. Again, eight video channels lead from the MR suite to the video room where the images can be mixed, studied or broadcast on the hospital videoconference unit.
The telemedical communications and video mixing room has all the required facilities to record each session in the operating theatres, and produce videos or transmit live procedures. The analogous video from the operating suites, together with alternative image sources, are displayed on 16 small monitors. An intuitive touch-panel device has been installed to operate broadcasts with live demonstrations and lectures. In a few years, the majority of the hospitals in Norway will be integrated into a telemedical network for the transmission of data from picture archival computer systems (PACS) and electronic patient records. To this specific purpose, the Interventional Centre has linked all the monitor images in its operating theatres together with several video cameras to a wide bandwidth network.
Five partners have set up the Distributed Interactive Medical Services. This is a special research programme to acquire experience in the application of high quality video transmission for competence and skill transfer in image guided procedures. The DIMedS consortium consists of the Oslo National Hospital and Ullevål Sykehus, the two largest Norvegian hospitals, the University of Oslo, as well as two telecom partners, Ericsson in Norway and Telia in Sweden. Next to this, the Interventional Centre at the Oslo National Hospital is involved in clinical cybernetics, defined as the various techniques by which information is being transformed into desired performance within dynamic systems. The patient applications relate to four different domains which are telemedicine, biomedical imaging, simulators and robotics. For more information on the subject, you can visit the home page of the Interventional Centre.