Designing the Future: ORL’s New Office Space Features High-Tech Tools

The UT Department of Otorhinolaryngology now occupies new clinical space on the 27th floor of the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza, offering patients an outstanding view that overlooks Rice University, Hermann Park, and, to the northeast, the Houston skyline. This office consolidates the outpatient ENT services previously offered by UT Physicians and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

The state-of-the-art office suite, designed with an emphasis on patient comfort and physician efficiency, features 16 fully equipped exam rooms, a voice lab, a nasal physiology lab, four audiology booths, and a two-room procedure suite. Each exam room is equipped with a dedicated video tower with image archive capacity. Each tower projects patient images on a 32-inch flat-panel screen that also displays patient education information from a digital media server. The image archive features a central server that permits rapid storage and retrieval of patient examinations. A second computer in each exam room supports the practice’s electronic medical record, as well as direct connections to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center imaging studies and medical records via a secure Internet connection.

“We’re closely integrated with the Memorial Hermann Outpatient Imaging Department and Outpatient Laboratory, which gives us immediate access to all patient information through our computer network,” says Martin J. Citardi, MD, chief of otorhinolaryngology at Memorial Hermann-TMC and professor and chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. “Our Dscope image archive stations are fully networked, allowing us to record high-quality still images and motion video of endoscopic exams. We have immediate access for all patient images from any exam room, and we can also archive diagnostic studies done at other hospitals. Once an exam is complete, we have the capability to create customized reports of each exam and burn them to CDs for referring physicians, who can review them through web browsers on any PC with a CD drive.”

The department also offers a video stroboscopy cart that is connected to the Dscope system. “These video examinations can be stored and reviewed immediately or at a later time with each patient,” he adds.

Dr. Citardi believes that today’s healthcare requires the assembly of information from diverse resources and that physicians must recognize their roles as managers of a diverse information stream. “Our office is designed to manage that flow and optimize it for better patient outcomes,” he says. “Our aim is still to provide compassionate care, and we are integrating technology toward our central mission.”

In addition, a modern nasal physiology laboratory includes an acoustic rhinometer that uses sound waves to measure the cross-sectional area of the nasal cavity. The lab also houses a Rhinolux for nasal spectroscopy, which measures the state of nasal obstruction. The lab facility also features spirometry services.

“Our new offices truly expand the services we can offer our patients,” Dr. Citardi says. “Patients have provided positive feedback, because they can more actively participate in their own care in comfortable surroundings. Because the office has a modular design supported by a digital backbone, we expect to be able to accommodate new technology and additional patient requirements easily and efficiently for years to come.”

For more information about the department or to send a patient, call 713.486.5000 or visit www.ut-ent.org.