Prior to the COVID-19 public health crisis, momentum to transition operating rooms into digitally-connected learning environments was building. Social distancing mandates accelerated those efforts.
Prior to the COVID-19 public health crisis, there was momentum to transform operating rooms into digitally connected environments to allow surgeons to collaborate and medical device companies to share best practices and products. Social distancing mandates over the past year accelerated those efforts as virtual reality and remote training technologies have been widely adopted.
The value proposition of connected surgical care, accessibility, efficiency and affordability, is positioning virtual proctoring and training to be the new normal in post-pandemic surgical interactions with experts predicting it is here to stay.
Traditional in-person observation and proctoring is a resource-demanding undertaking for medtechs, given the travel expenses and staffing logistics involved, compared to the virtual collaboration that arose out of necessity in 2020. Flexibility and scalability are two advantages the technology provides for virtual surgical coaching. At the same time, the personal connection that comes from working in-person can be lost in virtual settings.
While digitizing the operating room environment was previously seen with a five- to 10-year horizon, the challenges COVID-19 presented in connecting experts has fueled the need to more quickly digitize surgery.
Nadine Hachach-Haram, CEO of tech startup Proximie, said one of the challenges with virtual surgical collaboration is that the OR traditionally is “inherently analog” and not digitized and data-driven.
“Imagine if we could digitize the OR and connect every operating room together” to allow surgeons to collaborate with each other and medical device companies to share best practices, Hachach-Haram, a reconstructive plastic surgeon, said. “We have these teams working together is an immersive interaction that is dimensional and experiential. Having a proctor there virtually for difficult cases is meaningful.”
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