“One of the most ubiquitous pieces of equipment in US surgical units is the computer workstation, which allows access to medical images before and during surgery,” researcher Juan Pablo Wachs says. “However, computers and their peripherals are difficult to sterilize, and keyboards and mice have been found to be a source of contamination.” (Credit: “hand in medical glove” via Shutterstock)

HEALTH & MEDICINE – Posted by Emil Venere-Purdue on Friday, January 11, 2013 9:34

Wave of the hand pulls up patient records

PURDUE (US) — Doctors may soon be using a gesture-recognition system in the operating room that identifies hand gestures to browse and display images of the patient.

Surgeons routinely need to review medical images and records during surgery, but stepping away from the operating table and touching a keyboard and mouse can delay the procedure and increase the risk of spreading infection-causing bacteria, says Juan Pablo Wachs, an assistant professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University.

“One of the most ubiquitous pieces of equipment in US surgical units is the computer workstation, which allows access to medical images before and during surgery,” he says. “However, computers and their peripherals are difficult to sterilize, and keyboards and mice have been found to be a source of contamination.

Also, when nurses or assistants operate the keyboard for the surgeon, the process of conveying information accurately has proven cumbersome and inefficient since spoken dialogue can be time-consuming and leads to frustration and delays in the surgery.”

Researchers are creating a system that uses depth-sensing cameras and specialized algorithms to recognize hand gestures as commands to manipulate MRI images on a large display.

The researchers, whose findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, validated the system, working with veterinary surgeons to collect a set of gestures natural for clinicians and surgeons.

Read more: Futurity – Wave of the hand pulls up patient records.

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