AI, virtual reality set to boost the growth of integrated operating rooms

Posted on September 23, 2019 by Medtech[y] Staff

The introduction of AI and VR to ameliorate the healthcare ecosystem is no longer a hypothetical concept – it is a growing reality. Industry experts have also predicted staggering growth rates with regards to the adoption of these technologies in the coming years. A Frost and Sullivan report states reported that, in 2019 alone, med-tech spending on AI, AR and VR could be anything around $5.9 billion. Scientists and IT Engineers are also sizing up the trend and are bringing advanced products and services to cater to the growing needs of medical practices and hospitals. Accenture has predicted that AI healthcare market would be valued at $6.6 billion by 2021.

What are Integrated Operating Rooms?

Integrated Operating Rooms (OR) are a product of innovation developed by the health IT industry. It is a massive leap towards embracing, EHR Software, telehealth and long-distant medication. Integrated OR allows the providers, who are outside the premises of an operation theatre, to assist in an ongoing surgery – something which was not possible with the traditional ORs. These ORs not only reduce the risks of wrong treatments but also improve the quality of care being offered to the patient.

AI, VR, and Integrated Operating Rooms – What’s the big deal?

With AI and VR inculcated in an integrated OR, the avenues for providers and IT experts are endless. Some aspects are discussed below:

Massive Savings

First of all, massive savings can happen. The US generously spends over $3.5 trillion on its healthcare. To put this into context, only four countries in the world have GDP higher than what the US Government puts into healthcare alone. Investing in AI alone will save the US government up to $150 billion per annum, by 2026. Such encouraging statistics prompt the government to take initiatives to promote the culture of AI and VR in the healthcare landscape. Other than the government savings, AI and VR will also reduce the costs of running an operation theatre.

Automation of surgeries

AI and VR (along with ML and DL) can take over delicate operations. In manual surgery, there are certain areas within the human body where surgeons find it hard to access. Plus, a lot of patients suffer post-surgery complications as well. It is reported that over 310 million patients around the world get operated each year, around 50 million patients develop complications following surgery and 1.5 million patients eventually die from such complications. Using specialized robots, intricate surgeries can be performed, up to microscopic accuracy. This will significantly reduce deaths due to human errors.

Best of all worlds

Integrated Operating Room is itself an advanced innovation, which allows long-distance surgeries to take place. Inculcating AI and VR into an already advanced setup can reap wonders for providers and patients. A patient can be operated by providers, from literally any state of the US, regardless of where the operation is taking place. Opinion-sharing and proper supervision will make the operation theatres much safer.

More information for the surgeons

With VR, providers will have access to 3D imagery and graphics to understand the medical condition of the patient better. Using AI, providers can understand better how to treat a specific disorder. This will make a surgeon’s life much easier.

Interoperability redefined

With AI and VR, Operating Rooms can become even smarter and can share information with other operation theatres in the country. This can create a comprehensive database of different actions that take place in all surgeries. This will make operation theatres more conducive to HIE (Health Information Exchange).

Something for the data scientists

Despite all the hype encapsulating AI and VR, scientists themselves confess that even they do not completely understand the intricacies of algorithms that govern AI. By integrating ORs with AI and VR, scientists would not only get an opportunity to learn more about these new technological innovations but also help them in identifying loopholes within the OR workflow continuum.

Statistics to prove that AI & VR can boost the growth of integrated ORs

AI and VR can bring sweeping changes in how the Integrated Operating Rooms function. Frost and Sullivan Report estimates that anywhere between 35% to 45% of ORs will make use of AI technology by 2022. This will eventually make ORs a hub-and-spoke model, with OR acting as the hub and input from the providers as spokes. Also, by 2022, opportunities worth $30 billion would be available for healthcare and non-healthcare companies, once integrated ORs become more common.


AI and VR will have their fair share of challenges during implementation into ORs. Doubts and questions are already being raised about cybersecurity and public acceptance of these technologies into the healthcare sector. However, as numbers suggest, AI and VR can take ORs to greater heights and make surgeries safer and cogent.

Author Bio:

Alex Tate is an independent health IT Consultant. He provides perceptive, engaging and informative consultancy on industry wide topics. He knows that no single approach is the right one for every practice, and so shall advise according to the requirements. The consultancy is based around Electronic Health Record, Practice Management and Billing Solutions is also available to achieve the highest returns and revenue for your practice. You can reach me at

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7 Analysis of the US and EU5 Hospital Operating Room (OR) Products and Solutions Market, Forecast to 2022 (Frost and Sullivan)

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