Bringing technology and compassion together at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center.


Tiffany (left) and Marcia check their mother’s status during surgery using ORI.

As Marcia and Tiffany’s 54-year-old mother was preparing to have abdominal surgery, they were prepared to feel anxious and worried all day. That changed once they arrived at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center Same Day Surgery.

“It was scary to come in here for this, but this puts us at ease,” says Tiffany.

Tiffany is referring to an iPad, issued to her by the surgical staff, that contains software called Operating Room Intelligence, or “ORI”. ORI is a way for physicians and nurses to provide real-time updates to family members while their loved one is in surgery. Similar to a text message, family members receive messages like “going well” or “procedure moving along as planned”. The iPads also have other apps and games on them to help keep family members busy and provide a welcome distraction.

“It takes the anxiousness off. I don’t have to keep asking the receptionist what’s happening,” Tiffany says.


Sue Katz, RN, goes over information on the iPad wtih Rick, whose wife was in surgery.

Additionally, the staff can share timely updates with family members who are not able to be at Aurora St. Luke’s by connecting the ORI software with their smart phone. So loved ones all over the world can be updated during what can be a very long and stressful wait.

“The device helps enhance patient communication, but it doesn’t replace the physician from talking to the patient’s family,” assures Sue Katz, RN, Patient Care Manager at Aurora St. Luke’s. She shares the iPads only work while on St. Luke’s property, and the technology has become quite a patient satisfier.

“I was surprised to see this type of technology here,” says Rick, whose wife was also in for surgery. “I can use the other apps on this while I wait instead of looking at the clock and wondering what’s happening.”

The ORI software was created by Dr. Joe Kohli, an Orthopedic Surgeon at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center

The ORI software was created by Dr. Joe Kohli, an orthopedic surgeon at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center.

The software was created by Joe Kohli, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Aurora St. Luke’s. But Dr. Kohli isn’t just a surgeon; he is also a son who went through the waiting game while his own mother was in surgery several years ago.

“My personal experience as a physician, you know there are always ways to improve your own practice. I worked for a technology company before I went to Med School, and I thought why not use technology to address those shortcomings and make things better?” Dr. Kohli says.

Dr. Kohli says leadership at Aurora St. Luke’s was on board from the beginning, “I tell colleagues, if you have ideas to improve the patient experience, you should approach the leadership here. They are always supportive.”

ORI has been so successful, Aurora Health Care now has tablets with the software in 8 hospitals. They are hoping to expand to even more. It’s been a great way to provide state-of-the-art care and show compassion for patients at the same time.

“I love it. We get updates when we need them, it really provides peace and comfort while you’re waiting,” explains Marcia.

If you’d like to support the effort to bring this technology to other areas and locations of Aurora Health Care, please contact Jim Thompson at

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