NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — It’s being billed as the hospital of tomorrow, the first technologically advanced smart hospital in New Jersey at the Hackensack University Medical Center.
State health inspectors are giving it a thorough look this week as the facility prepares to open its doors to patients before the end of the month. The modern, nine-story Helena Theurer Pavilion was three years in the making. Incorporating state-of-the-art technology, it is being considered the most advanced “smart” surgical tower in New Jersey.
As you approach the facility, it looks more like a luxury hotel than a hospital. But behind the walls are 24 operating rooms with specialized equipment and procedures that once were science fiction.
Dr. Michael Stifelman, a urologist at Hackensack University Medical Center, gave PIX11 a tour of the facility.
“What makes this hospital of the future so incredible is the investment in new technology,” Stifelman said.
Claiming to be the national leader in robotic surgery, this hospital has equipped 25% of its operating rooms with robots to perform complex procedures.
“The surgeon no longer stands over the patient. They actually sit at consoles using robotics. It gives them the ability for super control, unbelievable technical capability,” Stifelman said. “This gives me four arms. I only have two. The instruments move like my hand by miniaturizing me and putting me inside the patient.”
Surgeons are using cutting edge artificial intelligence to assist in the diagnosis and performance of delicate, complex procedures with minimal risk.
“We can take all the information of the patient’s journey and we use artificial intelligence to help improve their outcome,” Stifelman said.
The doctor pointed to the lamp above the operating table, noting that the camera it houses is another innovation that allows surgeons to bring health care workers from anywhere in the world right into the operating room during surgery to consult on the procedure.
Advances in the projection of graphics into the operating theatre and 3D imagery are other pioneering tools being employed in the new facility.
“We can now take an image of the brain, overlay it during surgery on the patient we can see exactly where the tumor is and the best and safest way to remove it,” Stifelman said.
Another incredible piece of technology, of which this hospital is a pioneer, is the use of high intensity focus ultrasound, or Hifu, to treat the effects of Parkinson’s disease and other forms of hand tremors.
“Before, we had to open up the brain to help people with tremors,” Stifelman said. “Now we can place a specialized helmet on their head and get the same result through high intensity focus ultrasound.”
After surgery, patients get to recover in modern, well-appointed private rooms. There are 225 of them. Each is equipped with 64-inch TVs, tablets for patients interactivity and floor-to-ceiling windows with magnificent views of New Jersey and New York.
It cost three quarters of a billion dollars to build this state-of-the-art surgical tower and the folks who designed it hope the innovations employed there will serve as a prototype for future hospitals of tomorrow.