BioSkills Lab On Medicine's Cutting Edge
Listen to Pinehurst President William Johnstone podcast about the new center .
View a photo gallery of the new center .
With the opening of its state-of-the-art BioSkills Learning Laboratory, the multi-specialty clinic will garner the attention of surgeons and medical professionals across the nation and, eventually, the world.
"This is a unique business pursuit for Pinehurst Surgical," said CEO William M. Edsel. "We have partnered with an international medical device company to construct a state-of-the-art BioSkills learning center. Pinehurst Surgical will lease this facility to medical device manufacturers, medical research groups, interested surgeons and others who require access to laboratory space that can provide safe usage of cadaveric material."
The only BioSkills laboratory operated in a private practice setting in the United States, Pinehurst Surgical's new high-tech learning center is set to open Aug. 1.
Designed to facilitate surgical research and education, this special area will permit Pinehurst surgeons as well as medical researchers and professionals from around the country to develop, practice and teach advanced surgical procedures and techniques in the new facility.
"The BioSkills Lab will allow us to educate other doctors about new procedures and demonstrate how to use new equipment," said Dr. William M. Johnstone Jr., president of Pinehurst Surgical. "Our role as doctors is to pass along our knowledge to the next generation of doctors. The BioSkills lab fulfills that mission and allows others to learn and understand new techniques. It is a way to give back to the profession while educating others."
A self-sufficient room that allows for the simulation of specific surgical procedures using human cadaver-based training, the 650-square-foot, nonsterile laboratory is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.
It features four work stations with a fifth station capable of full-body work with a gurney arrangement. The lab is set up so all five work stations can be used at once.
A vital tool in education, the BioSkills lab is outfitted with five cameras -- one for each station and one center-mounted pan, tilt and zoom camera for full cadaver use and detailed examination. Video systems and camera instrumentation are available to cover all specialties.
The BioSkills lab is adjacent to the John N. Ellis, M.D., board room, a full-size conference-board room that offers full audio/visual integration. The lab also is linked electronically to the conference room, allowing surgeons or instructors in the lab to interact live with students and medical professionals watching the procedure or demonstration in the conference room.
In addition to the two-way audio and visual communication, Pinehurst Surgical's new lab has state-of-the-art recording and presentation capabilities. A great facility for seminars and conferences, the board room also has a fully integrated podium available
To outfit the BioSkills lab, Pinehurst Surgical turned to Smith and Nephew Endoscopy, a global medical technology business that specializes in endoscopy, orthopaedic reconstruction, orthopaedic trauma and advanced wound management products. Smith and Nephew installed its Condor control system in Pinehurst Surgical's new facility.
The Condor technology makes it possible for a medical team to send commands to medical devices, digital cameras, image management systems and other components using voice commands and a wireless touch panel. It also enables real-time streaming audio and video of the procedure to an adjacent board room, classrooms, offices, hospitals and consulting surgeons in other locations across the world.
Because the technology uses the Internet, Pinehurst Surgical will be able to broadcast procedures and conduct lectures with cadaver-based training via live Web casts.
The technology also allows for audio/visual communication with hospital operating rooms. Eventually, surgeons in the BioSkills lab at Pinehurst Surgical will be able to connect live with operating rooms at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital or hospitals across the world.
Smith and Nephew's Condor technology makes Pinehurst Surgical the only noneducational facility with the ability to produce this type of broadcast. It also offers the clinic the ability to tie in other technology and services such as radiology and to be upgraded as new features and new technology are released.
"We are providing a top-notch facility for surgeons to learn and develop new procedures, skills and instruments by practicing in a learning environment," Edsel said.
Wireless tablet technology also will be used to assist direction of devices and communication with operating rooms as well as the conference center.
Pinehurst Surgical's BioSkills lab is a learning facility that can support the training of physicians, dentists, nurses, scrub technicians, therapists, medical students and others, even veterinarians. Specialties that can use the learning center include cardiothoracic surgery, general, orthopaedic, gynecologists, urologists, ophthalmologists, ENT, dental and plastic.
"The opportunities are endless," said Dr. Andy C. Kiser. "The lab could be used for heart operations, joint operations, orthopaedic procedures, sinus surgeries and so much more. It offers a good opportunity for learning. Sandhills Community College students could learn procedures without the risk of harming a patient."
Kiser, a cardiac and thoracic surgeon at Pinehurst Surgical, is excited about the possibilities offered by the BioSkills lab in both education and research. In addition to the numerous medical uses the new center offers, Kiser potentially can see organizations and business people using the conference room for telecasts and teleconferences.
"This is an important advancement for us to bring to Pinehurst," Kiser said. "Besides bringing physicians to the area for conferences, we are providing resources that can be used by anyone who needs to teleconference anywhere in the world."
Ongoing Local Research
Kiser also looks forward to the research opportunities the BioSkills lab offers him. For more than a year, Kiser has been working on developing a new type of operation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, a disorder found in about 2.2 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association.
During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two small upper chambers (the atrial) quiver instead of beating effectively. Because blood isn't pumped completely out of the chambers, it may pool and clot, possibly resulting in a stroke.
Kiser said that currently there is no good treatment for the disorder, which is why he is working to develop a heart operation to correct it. He has received grants and is working with the Federal Food and Drug Administration for approval of the procedure.
"The procedure itself is complex, but this operation is a good opportunity to improve the treatment of atrial fibrillation," Kiser said.
Thus far, Kiser has used a sheep's heart for part of his research.
"Obviously, there is some difference between a sheep's heart and a human heart," he said.
The need for human cadaver work led to Kiser suggesting the creation of a BioSkills lab at Pinehurst Surgical. With the construction of a new facility under way, the timing was right.
In the nonsterile BioSkills lab, Kiser will work with a human heart, which he inflates with saline to make it more lifelike, giving the surgeon a more realistic heart to work with and on.
To conduct his research, Kiser has had to travel to a veterinarian's clinic in Raleigh. The opening of Pinehurst Surgical's BioSkills lab means his commute will only be an elevator ride from his second-level office to the ground-level lab.
According to Kiser, the main advantage of working with cadavers is that doctors and medical professionals can gain knowledge and improve their skills without patients suffering harm. While working in a nonsterile environment, like the BioSkills lab, cuts down on cost, working with nonliving, human cadavers makes it easier to train and learn, Kiser said.
Pinehurst Surgical uses only reputable organizations to procure the cadavers, which are kept anonymous with only a brief medical history known to the doctors.
Because the cadavers are frozen there is very little environment hazard. Once work is completed, Kiser said, the cadavers are returned to where they originated for burial or cremation, according to the families' wishes.
Location An Added Bonus
Edsel, Johnstone and Kiser all believe that Pinehurst Surgical's location in a "golf Mecca" is an added draw for an educational and research facility such as the BioSkills lab.
They feel Pinehurst represents a great destination where surgeons and others will want to travel. In addition to gaining knowledge in a world-class facility, conference and seminar participants and their spouses can take advantage of the area's many recreational activities and attractions.
"We anticipate national and international attention to this new facility as surgeons from all over the world learn of this facility and come to Pinehurst Surgical for additional education and surgical training," Edsel said, "and to experience beautiful Pinehurst, North Carolina."
Pinehurst Surgical has been providing medical and surgical care since 1946 and celebrated its 60th anniversary on July 17 with the opening of its new facility.
The oldest and largest surgical clinic in the country, Pinehurst Surgical is comprised of nine specialty centers, including Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Center; Ear, Nose, Throat, Head and Neck Center; Facial Plastic Center; General and Bariatric Center; Neurological Surgery and Spine Center; Orthopaedic and Joint Replacement Center; Urologic Center; Vascular and Vein Care Center; and Women's Care Center.
Pinehurst Surgical's patient base covers 15-plus counties. In 2005, the clinic provided care to more than 60,000 patients.
The new facility and BioSkills lab represent Pinehurst Surgical's continued commitment to delivering world-class health-care service to its patients, as well as an investment in the future of medicine and Pinehurst.
Martha J. Henderson can be reached at 693-2476 or at email@example.com.
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