A great deal of advanced medical training involves witnessing surgeries and listening to the guidance, suggestions, and recommendations of the people performing them. Typically, this is done on-site, which often involves costly travel expenses plus a lot of time wasted simply getting to the lesson. There are alternatives available, such as hiring a video crew to film and broadcast a surgery, but this is an expensive and often not very practical in small operating theaters.
The Florida Hospital Nicholson Center, having its own production crew, decided that they can cut educational costs while making it easy for clinicians to broadcast from the OR. Their new B-Hive system is an all-in-one product that includes cameras and microphones, as well as a device which can take inputs from fluoroscopes and other imaging tools, and an easy way to transmit all the data to remote computers, tablets, or smartphones.
We spoke to Steven Thekan, co-creator of the B-Hive and digital services supervisor of the Florida Hospital Nicholson Center, about the new system, what the motivation was to create it, and how it will be used to improve medical education.
Medgadget: Can you give us a brief overview of the capabilities and features of the B-Hive?
Steven Thekan: The B-hive is a remotely operated, bi-directional, mobile broadcast studio. Here, we provide direct surgeon-to-learner communication capabilities using multiple vantage points to make sure every moment is captured. This unique and customized learning experience increases the level of interaction available to remote learners.
Medgadget: How does it differ from existing platforms like Skype? Why would a hospital choose this telemedicine method over something existing?
Thekan: The B-Hive is more like a remote production studio compared to Skype. The B-Hive can accept almost any video feed that is common in an OR. This includes medical robots, C-Arms, ultrasound imaging devices and laparoscopic cameras. The key differentiator is that this hardware comes with a service element, in which a remote engineer controls the video feeds and provides technical support and troubleshooting. The output is a fully produced broadcast with multiple pictures in pictures, lower third graphics and even playback for graphics and commercials. Similar to Skype, you would be able to access this broadcast from a desktop, laptop, tablet or cell phone.
Medgadget: Where does the name come from? What concepts is it supposed to conjure?
Thekan: The name B-hive came to life from a collaborative effort on our team. It stands for Broadcast-Hive, and represents the fact that all of the broadcasting begins within this hive.
Medgadget: Is the data channel secure? What security are you using?
Thekan: The system broadcast to a wide variety of 3rd party platforms. The standard end-to-end encryption is TLS 1.2 with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit algorithm. We choose the best service depending on client needs.
Medgadget: Is this product intended for training only, or are there other clinical applications? Who do you expect your customers to be?
Thekan: There are a wide variety of applications for this device, which includes broadcasting needs outside of the OR to broadcasting a general session or team meeting. Currently, this is being used for medical device companies to train doctors on new products, and for medical conference broadcasting. However, for any application where a user needs to have a produced broadcast or conference but is on a limited budget, the B-Hive is perfect. With our experience in ORs and broadcasting surgeries, we began our focus in this industry, but foresee entering new industries in the near future.
Medgadget: Do you expect to continue developing this product? What new features do you expect to implement?
Thekan: Each opportunity we have to broadcast a surgery or a training session, we learn a new way that we can develop future systems. Being a part of a cutting edge medical training facility, like the Nicholson Center, helps us to stay on top of technical trends and helps move us forward to the creation of our next product. Currently, we alter and adjust our products to meet the unique needs of each of our clients.
Product info page: B-Hive…