German Schwetzingen hospital deploys Matrox EXTIO Remote Graphics Unit


Dedicated, industry-specific computer hardware is critical in building today's modern hospitals. The proper equipment can increase efficiency and productivity, providing optimal platforms to conduct patient diagnosis.

The Situation

Operating rooms (ORs) in the Schwetzingen hospital were equipped with special OR PCs connected to the hospital's network via WLAN (Wireless LAN). These custom PCs allowed the surgeon along with attending doctors and nurses to witness the procedures using the PCs as a visual aid. Although a convenient addition to the OR, these custom PCs were very expensive and failed to provide the required performance. In addition, if the PC broke down and needed to be sent for repair, there was no back-up PC since the cost was too high to have a spare custom PC. An alternative approach the hospital staff considered was locating the PC in a separate, adjacent room, and extending the display, mouse and keyboard in the OR. This would save cost by using a standard PC with higher performance, allowing the hospital to also acquire a back-up PC, in the event of a failure. The downfall however is that the PCs need to be connected to the network via traditional CAT-5 cable, and the display, keyboard and mouse would be distanced in the OR in the analog domain and at limited distances before display image quality and resolution began to deteriorate. Since only one video signal can be transferred into the OR with this approach using an analog keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) extender, the image quality was well below hospital standards. Another solution was needed.

The Requirements


In order to make the OR functional and efficient, doctors of Schwetzingen Hospital requested that up to three certified medical displays (with landscape/pivot abilities) can be installed in each OR, and the systems be connected to emergency backup power. Doctors need high quality images in the OR from the PCs in the adjacent room, without any loss of image quality.

The Solution


Expensive, custom PCs were not a solution. Simply deploying analog KVM extenders was not a solution either - the image signal quality could not be maintained. System administrators Michael Roll and Peter Kabelka looked to Matrox for options and tested the Matrox EXTIO Remote Graphics Unit (RGU) and quickly realized the advantages of deploying the technology. The Matrox EXTIO RGU fulfilled two key elements - a) the need to use a standard PC with a backup system power in an adjacent room, and more critically b) to send the keyboards, mouse and multiple video signals into the OR in an efficient and clean manner.

The Matrox EXTIO RGU enables the extension of up to four displays, and up to six USB ports for devices such as keyboard and mouse to be located away from the PC by a single fiber-optic cable which can be up to 250 meters. Fiber-optic cable technology ensures all signals are isolated from any magnetic or electrical interference while providing the highest fidelity and the utmost image quality, for the staff. The solution deployed consists of the Matrox EXTIO RGU with a standard PC equipped with Ashvins viewing software and the associated hospital information system (HIS) for each OR. This approach saves the hospital with financial and maintenance issues by using standard PCs.


The Results

Doctors at Schwetzingen Hospital are now able to view pristine images in the OR with more flexibility than they previously had. They save money and have a clean setup and maintenance environment.
"Our doctors are very happy about the implementation of the Matrox Extio in our ORs. The new digital setup eliminates the need to search for film and allows doctors instant access to X-Rays without having a disturbing and noisy PC in the Operating Room," says Michael Roll, IT Department, Schwetzingen Hospital. "Additionally, the pin sharp images ease the doctors' daily work load. For the hospital personnel, the setup was easy and we can simply say: 'It works!' "

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