About this project
The problem we solve:
Most operating rooms play music even though they are already very noisy with reverberating walls, powered orthopedic equipment, warmers, suction, clanging metal instruments and multiple loud conversations (masks preclude lip reading). Hearing important alarm sounds and tones from the anesthesia monitor can be quite difficult at times. In addition, many of the staff are desensitized to the alarm tones and suffer from alarm fatigue.
About our solution:
Canarybox interfaces with the anesthesia monitor and the music player. If a patients vital signs become abnormal it automatically mutes the music in the operating room. Turning off the music is an effective way to get everybody's attention and is in itself an implicit call for silence so the entire team can hear alarm tones, communicate, and focus on the safety of the patient. We now have cars that don't allow music unless everybody is wearing their seatbelt, we can easily have music in the operating room that is more intelligent and patient-centric. The picture below shows an image of the interface that sets limits for patient oxygen saturation. There are yellow zones for a partial mute, and red zones for a full mute. Also there are programmable delays to minimize nuisance triggers. Progress to date:
I have a working prototype that interfaces with anesthesia monitors from three different companies. An IRB approved clinical trial at Saint Patrick Hospital in Missoula is underway. Dr. Joe Schlesinger from Vanderbilt, an expert in alarms and patient safety, visited Missoula this month to see the project and took a prototype back to his facility. Dr. Robert Stoelting, the president of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, saw a video demonstration and invited me to an APSF conference later this year on Distractions in the Operating Room. One of our main journals, Anesthesia and Analgesia, published a letter from me on this topic last September with a response that anesthesiologists need to regain control of the acoustic environment in the operating room. The image below shows the unit working in the operating room with a Philips MP70 monitor.
About Our Team
Dr. Alistair MacDonald, MD
Anesthesiology, Practicing Physician
University of Washington Bio:
I grew up in the midwest and went to medical school and residency in Seattle before being lucky enough to get a job in Missoula, Montana where I've worked and lived for the past 16 years. I love the challenges of my job and thinking about how technology allows us to do amazing things. When I'm not at work I enjoy hiking, backpacking, biking, fishing and rafting. I sometimes enjoy playing mediocre guitar.
Missoula Anesthesiology, PC Hospital Affiliation:
Saint Patrick Hospital