For many surgeons, the question of ‘How can I do this better?’ is often at the back of their thoughts. Ongoing learning and improvement is at the epicenter of their profession as they continually strive to provide better patient care.
It was with this in mind that the surgeons who form the Thunder Bay General Surgery Group (Drs. Cassie, Davenport, Gehman, Harris, Holmes, Kirk, Mapeso, Smith and Telang) decided to make an $81,000 donation to fund the purchase of a piece of equipment for endoscopy that enables them to do better. The ‘Scope Pilot’ is navigation system technology that provides a true 3D live representation of a colonoscope shape and position inside a patient’s bowel tract when a physician is performing a colonoscopy (viewing the bowel). Once a scope is inserted into a patient, its position can be viewed in real-time on a screen thanks to integrated multidimensional sensors which are built right into the colonoscope.
Dr. William Harris, Regional Colorectal Screen/GI Endoscopy Lead and Surgeon at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre explained, “There are many benefits to having this system here for both patients and physicians. First of all, we can provide a safer and more comfortable experience for our patients, because we are able to view the exact position of the colonoscope inside the bowel, and we can better maneuver the scope so there is less discomfort. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to get around corners in the bowel, and with this technology, we can view the scope’s position from multiple angles and determine how best to continue. It also means we’re able to provide scopes using less sedation, since our patients are more comfortable.”
Dr. Harris continued, “For physicians, this technology provides an incredible learning opportunity so that we can enhance our skills. We’ve had experts from other academic centres come here to provide training for us and many of the surgeons who are providing colonoscopy across Northwestern Ontario. Again, since we are able to view the scope’s position, we can better understand, ourselves, why something is working or why we do things the way we’ve been doing them for years.”
Additionally when training resident physicians, the mentoring physician is able to better explain and teach how to perform a colonoscopy. When encountering difficult sections of the bowel, the resident can see exactly how the scope is behaving and can then work with their mentoring physician to problem solve.
“We’re quite thrilled to have this equipment and are proud to have supported its purchase through our donation,” said Dr. Harris. “It’s important to our community that we invest in having better health care and, as physicians, we can see the impact donations have on the care we’re able to provide our patients. We’re honoured to join the many other donors in our community who are making care better.”