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Virtual Operating Room (Virtual-OR)
Providence Seattle Medical Center/Hope Heart Institute
Seattle, WA

Year: 1999
Status: Laureate
Category: Medicine
Nominating Company: Computer Motion, Inc.

First-ever live internet broadcast of interactive heart surgery sets the stage for centers of medical and surgical excellence to serve as virtual operating rooms worldwide.
On August 17th 1998 the world's first Internet broadcast of real-time
interactive open heart surgery was performed at Seattle Providence
Medical Center and the Virtual-OR was born. The broadcast was
completed without the need for satellite down-linkage, downloading of
software or hardware materials or any other high technology
Requirements to view the surgery as a seamless video
stream included a PC, web browser, RealPlayer Plugin(available free)
and a high speed Internet access line. Live interactive surgical
broadcasts have been performed multiple times since the initial
broadcast. Viewers have included patients, health care providers,
physicians, medical device industries, medical institutions, and
governmental represent
The Virtual-OR directly helps patients, physicians, hospitals, medical
institutions,and medical industry. The virtual-or has allowed for patient
education regarding surgery. The patient gains an understanding of what
the procedure is technically, procedural options, recovery, short and long
term outcomes. Patients and their families are afforded the opportunity of
developing a real knowledge of what they will be going through. This
knowledge and understanding of the surgical procedure serves to not
only educate regarding surgical options but likely results in an easier
Information technology was the fundamental basis for the development of
the Virtual-OR. The technology developed and used in the Virtual-OR
allows for one to one or one to many real time audio-visual interaction. In
order to previously view a surgical procedure in real time, the options
were travel to watch a surgeon perform a new procedure, watch
edited video tape of a new procedure, or acquire a surgical atlas.
These processes require a great deal of time and money
The Virtual-OR performed the world's first live Internet Heart surgery on
17th, 1998.This has been followed by multiple surgeries live and
subsequently archived for purposes of teaching and education. The
exceptional aspects of these broadcasts are that they require minimal
computer technology, require no hardware or software, and
interactive with live audio feedback from the operating room of
the Virtual-OR and are then immediately available in archived form on the
Virtual-OR web site.

This is the first project of its kind
worldwide. The evolution of the project began in early

1998. Dr.
Robert R. Lazzara gave a talk on his vision of the future with regards to
heart surgery.
The mission and goals of the Virtual-OR are being realized daily. The site
is operational and the concept is a reality. The Virtual-OR template at
Providence Seattle Medical Center can broadcast daily over the Internet.
Discovering and acquiring the technology used to broadcast over the
Internet was the first obstacle that was overcome