To better outpatient care, Phil Wall, MD, RPVI, a vascular surgeon with Arizona Vein and Vascular Center, obtained three patents and is pursuing more for a hybrid operating room. He was represented by the Squire Patton Boggs law firm, where patent lawyers A.J. Moss, Peter Flanagan and Lucius Lockwood helped formulate a strategy for protecting his inventions.
A hybrid operating room combines a conventional operating room with fixed imaging where specialists can perform procedures with C-arms. In the operating space, surgeons, radiologists, cardiologists and other surgical specialists can work together to treat conditions ranging from spinal to cardiovascular disorders. In the same space, surgeons can perform open, laparoscopic, catheter-based and image-guided procedures.
Many ambulatory surgery centers are unaware they can operate such facilities and may be missing out on a crucial way to bring in high-acuity cases. A hybrid surgery center's imaging technology will allow specialists to perform more complex, minimally invasive cases including cardiovascular and spine procedures. ASCs or other similar facilities can highlight their hybrid surgery center to specialists such as interventional radiologists, spine surgeons and cardiologists, to bring in more complex cases and ultimately grow their volume.
ASCs looking to expand their case volume and recruit such specialists may consider renovating their existing operating room or heading up a de novo project. Licensed centers can use Dr. Wall's patents as a roadmap for how to successfully build a hybrid surgery center.
"Cost of the improvements will be paid for by an increased volume of cases and higher breadth cases," Dr. Wall says. "The hybrid surgery center can bring in cases that were not originally being performed in an outpatient setting. The center will make physicians who were previously uncomfortable performing these cases in at outpatient setting at ease due to the available technology."
In February 2016, Dr. Wall obtained his first patent for the surgery center, and this month he received his second and third patents. Dr. Wall has other patent applications pending and plans to file more patent applications to protect additional improvements to his ideas.
"Individuals and groups will have the opportunity to license the patents to build their centers and devise a plan on how to do it without stumbling," Dr. Wall says.
Through the use of the licensed technologies pioneered by Dr. Wall, licensees may operate their ASCs in a similar way to Dr. Wall's center. The first patent specifies what the hybrid operating room in an ASC can have:
• An imaging device
• A power supply for the imaging device
• A power room adjacent to the operating room
• A conduit from the power room to the imaging device
Dr. Wall's first patent also identifies several features that support efficient operation of the hybrid operating room. These features include an air change system that provides several rooms air changes per hour, an emergency power source and construction standards that may conform to International Building Code Class B standards.
While the first patent lays out some of the fundamentals, the recently-acquired second and third patents delve into further details on the operating room and how it may function. Together, the first three patents cover multiple innovative combinations of structural features, construction and operational techniques.
"I think these patents are a recipe for building a successful hybrid surgery center," Dr. Wall says. "It is meant to spur innovation. Coming from a hospital environment, it was difficult to watch hospitals try and build these. As technology improves and more and more physicians become aware of the outpatient environment, our patent portfolio will become much more applicable. My goal is to help patients and providers in an efficient and modern outpatient environment."
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