Three Cutting-Edge Medical Innovations Advancing Cincinnati in 2019


The medical field is always evolving. Here’s how three local medical institutions are pushing boundaries to keep patients healthy this year.

The Eye in the Sky

Illustration by James O'Connell

In 2012, the Cincinnati VA adopted Tele-ICU—a cutting-edge remote monitoring system that uses live audio-visual feeds and electronic “smart charts” to supplement patient care from afar—a way to provide “on-call” critical nurses and intensivists to areas with shortages. As the first VA facility in the nation to do so, the program quickly took off. Today, the Cincinnati VA Tele-ICU hub—recently relocated to the John Weld Peck Federal Building downtown—is one of the largest in the country, employing more than 50 nurses and 14 physicians and offering 24/7 care to nearly 300 beds in 19 hospitals east of the Mississippi.

An Assist From A.I.

Illustration by James O'Connell

Medical imaging at TriHealth is about to get a lot more high-tech: The hospital will become the first in Ohio to be a beta tester of sorts for the IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review, an artificial intelligence program that reviews medical images (predominantly radiology scans) and provides scientific insight for interpreting them. It’ll work by looking at a scan—say, for an MRI—then pulling necessary data from the electronic medical record, noting those images with abnormalities and moving them to the top of the radiologist’s pile for review, giving radiologists a more enlightened “read” that will help them offer more precise treatment.

Practicing Surgeons

Illustration by James O'Connell

On any given day at FIVE Labs Midwest, you’ll find clusters of surgeons practicing intently in a ballroom-size classroom, a sort of faux OR populated with nearly two dozen top-of-the-line, fully equipped surgical stations. The so-called “bioskills lab”—a joint venture between OrthoCincy and St. Elizabeth (who co-own it) and FIVE Labs Midwest (who manages it)—aims to mimic a real-world operating room experience as closely as possible, allowing surgeons (and surgical professionals) of all specialities to train on the latest medical devices, learn new techniques, or simply hone their skills, all in a risk-free environment. “There are not a lot of labs like this in the country,” says Jonathon Spanyer, an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCincy, who sits on FIVE Labs Midwest’s board. “[It] offers an opportunity for surgeons that is unparalleled in the region.”

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