Advances in medical technology and techniques have a great impact on the outcome of patients. Those advancements also come with a series of costs. The obvious financial costs aren’t the trickiest to overcome.
Introducing new treatment protocols requires a lot of study and testing but it also requires getting past common objections. When it comes to promoting the benefits of a video laryngoscope it’s the human factor that needs to be overcome.
It isn’t that medical professionals are obstinate, it’s that they trust what they know. Integrating a new technology comes in phases as more of the staff in the room comes to expect to perform in one way over another.
Early adoption by junior staff doesn’t necessarily translate to full interga5ration. The following explains how this gap is breached in the practice of laryngoscopy.
Video Laryngoscope Advantages
No technology sees its full potential if people aren’t willing or able to utilize it fully. With medical devices, how something is used is as important as that it exists to be used.
Small permutations in ideological standards and practices have led to numerous options in the field of laryngoscopy. The opinion of which blade works best has been hotly debated in medical circles for decades, so it isn’t surprising that video laryngoscopes have been slow to saturate the field.
Here’s a breakdown of the areas in which video provides advantages over direct laryngoscopy.
It almost goes without saying that every second counts in an emergency medical setting. The reason to mention it is to quantify the difference between hurrying and effective time use.
A pit crew gets to perform amazing feats because they both practice and perform their skills on the exact same vehicle. Medical staff fight an ever-changing landscape with each patient and each intubation they perform.
The fastest intubation isn’t likely going to be the safest intubation.
There is a difference, then, between forcing something and getting it done safely. Video laryngoscopy offers a detailed view of the esophageal area, allowing real-time adjustments to intubate without less damage to surrounding tissues.
Since the screen offers a view to more than just the person wielding the scope, this also makes it easier for attending senior staff to offer help. Together these two benefits increase the speed of procedures while also limiting interruptions that would slow processes.
Whether done quickly or slowly, getting a tube through the trachea without causing damage to the larynx and vocal cords isn’t always easy. Patients rarely remain still for procedures, let alone invasive ones, let alone when they are panicking.
Working with video offers a zoomed-in view that illustrates smaller blockages and increases the accuracy of timing for pushing through between compressions or other team actions.
For training purposes, a video laryngoscope is far easier to use and learn than a direct scope. Direct scopes are cheaper and more widely available, they also offer better practice to get a ‘feel’ for intubation procedures.
It is like the metaphor of swinging with ten bats to build up muscle to hit a home run. Precision beats brute force. Learning a slower, more archaic technique makes little sense.
To put it another way, it’s difficult to test if it is simply experience that makes for better intubation or knowledge of varied techniques.
In general, the learning curve for successful intubation with a video laryngoscope is shorter than direct scopes.
Junior team members working with a scope feel more confident when they can more clearly see what they are doing. That a video laryngoscope can be used from more angles also helps to facilitate movement and positioning inside of a crowded procedure room.
The screen, visible to multiple team members, offers a clearer feedback loop than a direct scope. It is important that auditory calls still be made and that team members not become transfixed by looking at the screen.
Advice on changes to positioning or ways to clear the field is easier when each member that needs information doesn’t have to take a look in a direct scope or translate descriptions.
Imagine how much slower a pit crew would function if each team member had to describe their actions before taking them.
Intubation is often done during other resuscitation efforts. A team that can see the intubation process gains the advantage of faster adjustments to rhythms of compressions and other physical repositioning efforts.
An interesting advantage of video laryngoscopy is in record keeping. While loading video files into records is perhaps more information than needed, the time stamps afforded by the video files aides in tallying records.
Video files also allow medical staff to review issues with intubation and to improve training and standards. In some cases, this additional set of eyes perspective even leads to additional diagnostic opportunities.
Other elements of a procedure can be more safely estimated from the direct timecodes built into the video files from the video laryngoscope. This provides an added layer of value to the team for as ingle piece of equipment.
The additional costs of a video laryngoscope are not much greater than a direct scope. The advantages they offer also result in cost savings when used as a standard of care.
The costs in supplies, time, and potential injury avoided through the use of a video scope easily reduce costs in comparison to an error caused by a direct scope. Not only is the reduction of injury a mandate of healthcare, but removing the costs associated with an error simply saves resources.
The benefits of a video laryngoscope are obvious but policy changes slowly. As the technology gains a foothold it will inevitably become the gold standard for care. Getting in early means being able to boast that high level of treatment.
Understanding that benefits exist and seeing them in action are two different things. Contact Infinium for more information on video laryngoscopes and other devices.