The Doctor’s Dilemma: Can Video Save a Surgery?

How a video call saved an operation

The other day, I was talking to a friend at Pilates. She’s a gynecologist specializing in in vitro fertilization. A big part of her job revolves around her ability to perform delicate surgery. She was telling me how recently she had been in the middle of an operation when abruptly, the operating microscope she was using…broke. So there she was, with an unconscious patient on the table, halfway through a critical (not to mention expensive) operation, with no way to finish what she was doing.

What on earth was she supposed to do?

Not that long ago, I guess she would have had no choice but close up. Perhaps try again another time? Certainly any choice would have been deeply upsetting for the patient.

But what caught my attention about the story was what she actually did.

They called the manufacturer of the microscope from the operating room. The manufacturer jumped right onto a video call with them. And then, step by step, the manufacturer walked them through repairing the equipment themselves! There was no time to send a repair person physically to the hospital in person, but with the power of video, they didn’t need to. The support person could see what the doctors were doing and could tell them exactly what they needed to do to diagnose and fix the problem. All with the patient lying right there! With her microscope once again in working order, my friend had no problem completing the surgery successfully.

This is why I think video is so critical. It’s no longer necessary for us to be physically in the same room to give hands-on instruction. (Or exchange anything other kind of information, for that matter.) This is a game changer. It’s changing the way we approach everything—customer support, education, just-in-time corporate training, even the way we communicate with our colleagues. You don’t have to be in the same place to be able to demonstrate, see what someone is doing (or doing wrong), and read their facial expressions. We now have the world’s experts in our back pocket.

How are live video and VOD converging, and how will that affect how we communicate in the future? Read “Uniting the Stacks: Video Convergence.”

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