Surgery of the Future

The Surgery of the Future – Less Stress for Employees and Patient

Hospitals are challenged to provide the highest quality of medical care and at the same time to cut costs in order to withstand the enormous pressure of competition. Especially large improvement and savings potential is in the range of the operating room. Due to numerous medical equipment and the large number of highly qualified personnel the surgery is particularly cost-intensive and success critical. The motivation of the hospitals to redesign the operating room is the possibility to minimize mistakes by intelligent systems, to increase the patient flow by innovative treatment methods and to realize reduced workload for the staff. Questions about possible innovations and even better standards for the patients well-being, the economic work and the operation documentation are the focus of the surgery-related research at Fraunhofer ISST. Along with hospitals and industry partners, the Institute develops new processes and products in order to make the surgery even safer for the patient and at the same time more profitable for the hospital. The focus of research is on the research fields of cost transparency, information logistics, process optimization and patient safety.

Since 2004 the classification system of the DRG (Diagnosis Related Group), which assigns average cost to medical treatments, is the accounting basis for all hospitals within Germany. To work efficiently, a constant orientation to the criterion established by the DRG benchmarks is necessary. The determination of the reference data is previously made manually in so-called calculation hospitals and therefore makes use of many personnel and time capacities. Moreover, this type of documentation is prone to errors and inaccuracies. A solution in the field of the operating room of the future offers the use of »Radio Frequency Identification« (RFID) technology, with which information can be stored on RFID tags and chips and can be read in and out. When used in the surgical area, this technology enables automated data capture of relevant information, such as ventilation times or the personnel commitment of individual actors within the different phases of an operation. The additional registration of patients using RFID bracelets would also increase patient safety and eliminate mix-ups.Together with the Locate Solution GmbH, Fraunhofer ISST is working on a prototype within the framework of a new building in the BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil in Bochum.

Another approach is to implement a fearless surgery. Even with modern surgery patients are still confronted with feelings of insecurity and anxiety. Therefore, the operation-related research in the Hospital Engineering Laboratory tries to detect and test factors for improving the well-being of patients. Thus, for example atmospheric changes caused by odors, colors or images can help the patient to relax. However, the base is comprehensive information before surgery. In this context, a patient information system (PIS) could provide the persons concerned with understandable information about the clinical picture, the procedure before the operation or the menu. Also the establishment of the mobile operating table in the German healthcare market is pursued in the project Surgery of the Future in order to increase patient safety.

A first implementation of the innovations described is made in the Hospital Engineering Laboratory at the Fraunhofer-inHaus-Center in Duisburg. The findings from the laboratory are included in the development of innovations and will ultimately be realized within the framework of projects in the various hospitals.

Project Partners

  • TRILUX GmbH & Co. KG
  • TRILUX Medical GmbH & Co. KG
  • Medizin & Wohlfühlen – Angstfreier OP
  • Schmitz u. Söhne GmbH & Co.KG
  • locate solution GmbH


Project information

(only in German)

Patient im OP: Information und Sicherheit Dank »Hospital Engineering«

Project information

(only in German)

Hospital Engineering - Das Krankenhaus der Zukunft