There are a slew of digital health startups looking to change the surgical space to make it more connected, from Hillrom’s surgical communication tool to Activ Surgical’s solution that gives surgeons real-time intraoperative visual data.
London-based virtual surgery platform Proximie is looking to tackle surgical connectivity challenges with its augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence tools that let doctors remotely scrub into operations. The company was founded in 2016 by Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram, who experienced that disconnect in surgery firsthand.
“As a surgeon, I also recognize having worked in that environment for tens of thousands of hours, that the OR, in and of itself, has largely been very analog for decades. It’s an environment that is so rich with information and so important to the journey of the patient, and yet everything we do is actually quite disconnected and quite siloed. From the op [operative] notes to the imaging system we use, to the robot system we use, to even the open case that we do. It’s all quite disconnected.”
Preparing new surgeons to practice independently has been a historic medical challenge. In fact, according to a 2019 study, up to 30% of general surgery residents aren’t able to practice alone by the time they complete their training. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the need for digital tools.
However, today there are a number of computer-based surgical platforms for education. Research published in PlOS One found that a virtual operative assistant was able to be successfully introduced into a surgical teaching framework. Proximie isn’t the only digital tool looking to help new surgeons train either. Osso VR, FundamentalVR and Touch Surgery have all created products aimed at training new doctors or helping practicing physicians sharpen their skills.
“I started to imagine a world where every OR could be connected, collaborative, data-driven and immersive,” Hachach-Haram said. “And imagine this world where we could drive expertise and the delivery of care for anywhere it’s needed. But we could create a web of connectivity that would enable us to really propose a common purpose to improve patient care.”
Image Credit: Proximie