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Eller Telepresence Room at Barrow Gets a Facelift

The Eller Telepresence room at Barrow Neurological Institute has received a facelift—creating a more open atmosphere and modern look while also increasing seating capacity.

The room made history when it opened in 2005 as one of the first MedPresence video-conferencing units in the country. It enabled the live broadcast of surgical procedures from the operating room.

Since then, Telepresence has become an essential multi-use space for the Institute. While it is still used for producing and showing live surgery broadcasts, it also hosts resident rounds, press conferences, educational seminars, and team meetings.

“One of our Barrow traditions is to come together at the end of the day and reflect on what we just learned today and what lies ahead tomorrow,” said Michael T. Lawton, MD, president and CEO of Barrow. “Whether it’s that difficult morning aneurysm or tomorrow’s unusual approach to a cavernous malformation, there is a pearl to be extracted from every experience in this crucible of neurosurgical training. Eller Telepresence is the place where this happens.”

Over the past 15 years, however, the room had become dated. Barrow leadership sought to revitalize the room to better reflect Barrow’s reputation as a world-class neuroscience training institution and cutting-edge treatment center. A remodel also presented an opportunity to create a more spacious, inviting, and functional space.

After several design iterations, work began on the renovations in February. Telepresence reopened with its dramatic new look about four months later.

Photo of residents facing the front of the room in Eller Telepresence

Neurosurgery residents gather in Eller Telepresence for end-of-day teaching rounds.

More Seating, Less Clutter

The room now boasts 38 seats instead of 28. However, occupants should actually find it less cramped and easier to navigate than before.

The redesign included removing bulky furniture and the false walls, which had created a “room within a room.”

Fixed swivel chairs have replaced the unwieldy rolling chairs in the main audience, and each one offers a flip-up tablet arm for taking notes. This eliminated the need for the stationary wooden desks, which monopolized much of the floor space. The swivel chairs also better facilitate discussions among the audience.

Removing the false wall from the back of the room allowed for an additional tier of seating, which features modern lounge-style chairs.

The ground level still holds a conference table, but one with a modern style and smaller footprint.

Aesthetic Improvements

In addition to increasing occupancy and improving flow throughout the room, the renovations elevate the overall visual aesthetic of Telepresence.

I like to think of Eller as Barrow base camp – where we huddle after climbing the mountain to rest, recover, gather information, and share stories. And importantly, where we prepare and better ourselves for the next attempt to summit that mountain of technical excellence.

-Michael T. Lawton, Barrow President and CEO

The furniture and carpet are not only more contemporary but also match Barrow’s blue, gray, and black color palette.

Removing the “acoustic cloud” panels from the ceiling made way for a more stylish “disappearing” ceiling. New acoustic panels on the walls maintain sound quality in the room while also adding a decorative element.

Telepresence also underwent lighting upgrades, including dimmable LED overhead lights and stair lights.

The project included some technology upgrades, such as larger display screens, a telestrator for drawing over video and still images, and new speakers and microphones.

The larger screens further eliminated the need for the fixed wooden desks, which previously housed monitors for a closer view of the image on display. With the monitors locked into a square aspect ratio, they had become incompatible with the widescreen ratio preferred today.

“I like to think of Eller as Barrow base camp – where we huddle after climbing the mountain to rest, recover, gather information, and share stories,” Dr. Lawton said. “And importantly, where we prepare and better ourselves for the next attempt to summit that mountain of technical excellence.”

About Barrow Neurological Institute
Since our doors opened as a regional specialty center in 1962, we have grown into one of the premier destinations in the world for neurology and neurosurgery. Our experienced, highly skilled, and comprehensive team of neurological specialists can provide you with a complete spectrum of care–from diagnosis through outpatient neurorehabilitation–under one roof. Barrow Neurological Institute: Discover. Educate. Heal.