By Seth Kardos, Director, Business Development, Med X Change, Inc.
Enabling surgeons, hospital operating room staff and university personnel to create HD, full-motion video recordings and still images of surgical microscopy and endoscopic surgery leaves no room for compromises in quality. Med X Change Inc. has set the benchmark for capturing and distributing precision medical images for academic and teaching purposes, with quality, performance, functionality, convenience and reliability that are second to none.
A Rich History of Innovation
The Med X Change story dates back to 1994, when we started marketing a series of communications products for the medical device industry that adapted quickly into Web-based software tools, expanding our reach into the surgical marketplace.
By 2001, several of our customers asked us to develop a digital recording system to allow users of surgical microscopes to communicate more effectively with the microscope manufacturers for technical support purposes. As a result of this development, we expanded our video technologies into the operating room during live surgical procedures.
We built several operating room prototypes and demonstrated them in real world environments over an eight-month period. Detailed feedback from surgeons and medical staff members helped us perfect our designs. Initially, we shipped some Standard Definition (SD) video systems, both NTSC and PAL, but the market quickly made it clear that High Definition (HD) performance was required in the surgical collaboration and teaching environments.
During the R & D process, we evaluated a dozen video capture card manufacturers and their products and we found Blackmagic Design Intensity video capture card to be the only solution that met our strict requirements. The Intensity card delivered the industry standard HDMI technology, the highest resolution capture, and superb quality of all video signals. Intensity made it easy for us to make the transition to HDMI performance with a minimal amount of time and expense.
State-of-the-Art Surgical Imaging Solutions
Leveraging the power of the Blackmagic Design Intensity card, our HD systems today record video and still images directly from multiple HDMI cameras strategically placed within the operating room to capture detailed images of live surgical procedures. Custom software and user-friendly graphical interfaces developed by Med X Change allow surgical teams to easily control all the features of these systems using touch screen monitors.
We have two systems: DRSHD HD video recorder system for the endoscopy marketplace, and HDMDâ„¢ system for surgical microscopy (any procedure where a surgical microscope is used, such as neurosurgery, ophthalmic surgery etc.) which requires a complete system that was small enough to fit inside a surgical microscope. The only possible way to accomplish that was to incorporate the Intensity card into our physical design — the smallest card in the industry. The cost of Intensity was lower than we had expected and the integration process was straightforward. Plus, the technical support we received from Blackmagicâ€™s engineering team was prompt and professional.
Each system is a complete HD documentation system that records live, wide screen HD video, and has the ability to capture and print high-resolution still images of surgical procedures. The Intensity card enables us to capture HD live video and still images directly from HD cameras, digitally record those images in a high-clarity HD format, and display images in stunning, precisely detailed, HD quality on a large video screen.
We provide MPEG-4 video compression, 720p (progressive), 30fps (frames per second), all made possible by the Blackmagic Design Intensity card. Each full frame refreshes every 1/30th of a second to provide clear, sharp images, even on larger video screens and it records only the target area of the image in brilliant HD quality, which reduces the file size.
Comprehensive Image Management
All of Med X Changeâ€™s surgical recording systems employ state-of-the-art HD cameras and standard HD signaling with HDMI cables and connectors. Our systems do much more than just record HD video. They are fully functional image management systems designed for the operating room environment. A touch screen interface is the command center for the recorder. The user can control video recording, make audio annotations, print still images captured directly from the HD video stream, burn video to CDs and DVDs, USB drives and external media, connect to DICOM Servers and select a network location to record video.
A typical operating room setup includes a recorder, touch screen monitor, large plasma or LCD display, and high-quality photo printers to enhance the operating room environment and optimize the effectiveness of the surgical team.
The processor engines in our systems are Windows XP-based, but since many of our customers are Macintosh users, we provide recordings and images that are cross compatible between Windows and Macintosh. A surgeon or staff member can record a procedure and store it to an external hard drive. Then they can use their own computers and large screens to make edits and insert a video clip or still image into a PowerPointâ„¢ presentation to share with surgical residents or academic fellows.
Blackmagic Intensity Stands Out in the Crowd
The medical professionals who use our systems are engaged in performing and perfecting critical life-saving surgical procedures, and they require the highest possible quality, trouble-free images of their work to share with their colleagues and students in professional collaboration and learning venues.
Our customer surveys determined that the HDMI standard was the best way to fulfill these needs, and operating room size restrictions meant that a small-form factor enclosure would best suit the requirements of our customers.
Result: Stunning Video Quality Second to None
The medical device business is brutally competitive and includes some entrenched billion-dollar global conglomerates. We need to position our recording systems as the best in our market segments from a video quality standpoint and set ourselves apart from our competition, regardless of their size and market dominance.
Our HD surgical recording systems are shipped throughout the world through major medical device distribution channels and under multiple brand names that are highly respected in our industry. Thereâ€™s no room for any compromises in quality.
From the moment that one of our sales representatives first demonstrates one of our systems to the day that a surgical team accepts a system and deploys it in the operating room, we want to be sure that our quality, performance, functionality convenience and reliability are second to none. Coupled with the Intensity card from Blackmagic Design can we achieve all of those with complete confidence.